By I Made Sentana And Deden Sudrajat
JAKARTA, Indonesia--Indonesia's trade surplus beats expectations to rise sharply to $1.02 billion in September as imports dropped faster than exports, official data showed Thursday.
The trade surplus more than doubled from $433 million in August, helping narrow Indonesia's current-account deficit. But weak imports showed expansion in Southeast Asia's largest economy continued to lose steam in the third quarter.
The surplus was higher than the median $900 million forecast of 10 economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.
The official Statistics Agency said exports dropped 1.55% from the previous to $12.53 billion, and contracted 17.98% from a year earlier. Imports dropped 7.16% from August to $11.51 billion, and 25.95% from a year earlier.
The statistics agency's chairman, Suryamin, said the country's import of crude oil products fell by 14.55% from August as state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina's new oil refining unit in Central Java started operations last month.
The agency added imports dropped 19.67% during the first nine months of the year to $107.94 billion from a year earlier, dragged by a 16.69% drop in imports of machinery equipment.
January-September exports, on the other hand, contracted 13.29% to $115.07 billion, weighed by falling crude palm oil and coal exports.
Write to I Made Sentana at email@example.com and Deden Sudrajat at firstname.lastname@example.org