REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- Former Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu has said that trade deficit is not always a reflection of negative performance in trade. Pangestu was commenting on the country's deficit in trade in three consecutive months until February when the deficit was recorded at US$116 million.
"We have to see what caused the deficit. If the reason is an increase in imports and the increase was related to growing investment, it should be positive," she said at "The Economists" ceremony here on Thursday.
She said normally if the rise in import was caused by growing investment or expansion of production , exports would rise after six months. She said it was also possible that the deficit in the trade balance in the three successive months could also be attributable to rising oil price as Indonesia has become a net importer of oil.
"It is positive if (the rise in) imports are related to investment and expansion in production," she said.
She said it is necessary to forestall deficit in international trade through improvement in competitiveness.
The Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) has announced that in February 2018, the country's trade balance had a deficit of US$116 million , the third in three consecutive months starting December, 2017.
BPS Chief Suhariyanto said a surplus of US$750 million was recorded in the trade of commodities other than oil and gas but there was a deficit of US$870 million in oil and gas sector.
The total deficit in February was smaller than US$760 million recorded in the previous month.