Jakarta. Indonesia posted its biggest trade deficit in four years in April as imports surged, wrong-footing analysts who expected a surplus for the month. The statistics bureau said the April deficit reflected “seasonal factors” including this week’s start of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month. Southeast Asia’s largest economy had a deficit of $1.62 billion, the biggest since April 2014 while the Reuters poll forecast was for a $700 million surplus. Imports in April soared 35 percent from a year earlier to $16.09 billion, compared with the poll forecast of 19 percent. For the first four months of this year, there was a deficit of $1.3 billion, compared with a $5.4 billion surplus a year earlier. Tuesday’s surprise trade deficit came at time the rupiah has been under pressure due to rising US yields and oil prices and worries about capital outflows. The trade data slightly widened its loss for the day, taking it to 14,030 to the dollar. Although Indonesian authorities have so far just intervened in the currency market to put a floor under the rupiah, they have said they are willing to raise interest rates if need be to defend the currency. The central bank concludes a policy… Read full this story
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