Indonesia’s import value from January to December 2023 is projected to have the potential to slightly increase from US$237.5 billion to US$250 billion, growing by 5 percent.
Economist at the Centre of Economic and Law Studies Bhima Yudhistira said imports are expected to start increasing from February to March 2023 to meet the needs of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. The seasonal pattern of imports this year would return to pre-COVID-19 pandemic days.
“It was triggered by people’s mobility which is starting to return to normal,” he said.
Meanwhile, imports have recovered unevenly this year. Yudhistira believes that the fastest imports are occurring in food and raw materials for industries related to food, beverages, and automotive parts.
Apart from hoping for a rebound in domestic consumption, imports are also influenced by the opening of China’s economy. In December 2022, China’s total imports would still be minus 7.5 percent year on year, thus influencing the decision of export-oriented industries to add raw materials.
“The result of weakening imports of raw materials and semi-finished goods will also affect the prospects for the recovery of the manufacturing industry this year,” he added.
Yudhistira concluded that if the decline in monthly imports continues, which is not caused by the industry looking for alternative local materials, there may still be manufacturers that are resistant to expansion.
The impact can be on labour absorption, especially in the labour-intensive industrial sector. He conveyed that the government needs to watch out for this because it could disrupt the economic recovery.