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Indonesia's Balance of Payments (BOP) improved in the first quarter of 2023. Indonesia amassed a larger USD6.5 billion BOP surplus in the first quarter of 2023, up from USD4.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022. BOP performance was underpinned by an ongoing current account surplus, accompanied by a capital and financial account surplus. Consequently, the position of official reserve assets at the end of March 2023 increased to USD145.2 billion from USD137.2 billion at the end of December 2022, equivalent to 6.2 months of imports and servicing government's external debt, which is well above the international adequacy standard of three months of imports.
The current account maintained a surplus, boosted by a remained high goods trade balance surplus. In the first quarter of 2023, the current account booked a USD3.0 billion surplus (0.9% of GDP), thus maintaining the surplus recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022 at USD4.2 billion (1.3% of GDP). A high goods trade balance surplus was maintained on the back of solid demand from Indonesia's major trading partners for non-oil and gas export commodities, coupled with a narrower oil and gas trade deficit as global oil prices retreat. The services trade deficit also narrowed in line with increasing travel services performance, given greater mobility and the positive impact of economic reopening in China, which boosted inbound international travellers to Indonesia. In addition, the primary income account deficit reduced due to lower investment income payments.
The capital and financial account booked a surplus, primarily supported by improving portfolio investment performance. The capital and financial account in the first quarter of 2023 recorded a USD3.4 billion surplus (1.0% of GDP), up significantly from a USD0.3 billion surplus (0.1% of GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2022. The main contributor to the significantly larger surplus was an increasing performance of portfolio investment, primarily in the form of inflows to domestic government securities (SBN) in response to eased global financial market uncertainty and attractive returns on financial assets. Direct investment was also solid, booking a wider surplus in line with positive investor perception of the promising domestic economic outlook. On the other hand, other investment transactions experienced a larger deficit due to higher private investment and the need for servicing external debt, amongst others.
Bank Indonesia observed stronger BOP performance in the first quarter of 2023, thereby continued to support external resilience in Indonesia. Moving forward, Bank Indonesia will remain vigilant of global economic dynamics that could influence the BOP outlook and continue strengthening the policy mix response, supported by close policy synergy with the Government and other relevant authorities to reinforce external sector resilience.
Further information and data are presented in the First Quarter of 2023 Indonesia Balance of Payments Report available on the official Bank Indonesia website.
Jakarta, 23rd May 2023
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