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Indonesia economic growth hit by lagging exports

JAKARTA (AFP) – Indonesia’s economy grew at its slowest pace for two years in the third quarter owing to a fall in exports caused by softer commodity prices, data showed yesterday.

The 4.94 per cent on-year expansion was lower than forecast in a Bloomberg survey, though Central Statistics Bureau (BPS) head Amalia Adininggar Widyasanti pointed out that the figure was better than the global average.

“In the middle of the slowing global economy, climate change, and the falling price of main commodities, Indonesia’s economic resilience is reflected in the 4.94 per cent of economic growth,” Widyasanti told a news conference yesterday.

Exports contracted 4.26 per cent, the biggest fall since the end of 2020 owing to a drop in demand for commodities including coal and palm oil. Overseas shipments have shrunk for six for the past seven months, according to Bloomberg.

Indonesia last month raised interest rates 25 basis points to six per cent, an unexpected move to defend the rupiah amid growing global economic uncertainty.

The rupiah has outperformed regional peers against a strengthening United States dollar but has nonetheless tumbled and last month hit 15,800 to the greenback, its lowest level since April 2020.

The weakening currency may force the government to raise fuel prices, given the country imports half of its petroleum.

“Because we rely mostly on economic consumption, we may be able to maintain five percent growth, but the natural resources sector… is not sustainable because of exploitation and oversupply,” said economist from the Center of Economic and Law Studies Bhima Yudhistira.

An Indonesian labourer works at an under construction fly over in Jakarta. PHOTO: AFP