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Indonesia’s August exports hit record as resources boom

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September 15, 2021

JAKARTA (Reuters) -Indonesia’s exports hit a record high of $21.42 billion in August, boosted by surging commodity shipments, helping Southeast Asia’s biggest economy post its largest ever monthly trade surplus, official data showed.

The resource-rich country’s August shipments rose 64.1% from a year earlier, according to data released by the statistics bureau on Wednesday, handily beating analysts’ forecast in a Reuters poll for a 36.90% rise.

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Sales of palm oil, coal and natural gas, its top commodities, surged more than 100%. Shipments of copper, tin and steel also jumped.

The August export value surpassed Indonesia’s last record high of $18.65 billion in August 2011, during the previous global commodity boom.

Commodity prices have been rising as more economies reopen from last year’s COVID-19 lockdowns.

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Coal and palm oil prices have reached record highs as demand outstripped supply, while tin prices also surged due to a supply crunch.

Riding on the trend, Indonesia has posted a trade surplus every month since May 2020.

August’s surplus was $4.74 billion, compared with a $2.36 billion surplus expected in the poll. July’s surplus was $2.59 billion.

The G20 economy also booked a 55.26% annual rise in imports in August to $16.68 billion, beating the poll’s 45.10% growth prediction.

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Indonesia’s COVID-19 restrictions were eased last month after infection numbers gradually fell.

(Reporting by Gayatri Suroyo and Fransiska NangoyEditing by Ed Davies and Kim Coghill)

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