Indonesia’s Top 10 Exports

Bali fabrics

Bali fabrics

Located mostly in Southeast Asia with some territories in the Oceania continent across from Australia, the Republic of Indonesia shipped US$144.5 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016. That dollar amount represents a 24% increase since 2009 when the Great Recession kicked in but down by -3.9% from 2015 to 2016.

Indonesia’s top 10 exports account for 62.3% of Indonesia’s total exports.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Indonesia’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $3.257 trillion as of April 2017. Therefore, exports represent 4.4% of total Indonesian economic output.

From a continental perspective, 67.9% of Indonesian exports by value were delivered to other Asian countries while 12.7% were sold to European importers. Indonesia shipped another 12.3% worth of goods to North America with 2.9% going to customers in Africa.

Given Indonesia’s population of 258.3 million people, its total $144.5 billion in 2016 exports translates to roughly $560 for every resident in that country.

Indonesia’s unemployment rate was 5.61% as of September 2016, according to Trading Economics.

Indonesia’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Indonesian global shipments during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Indonesia. At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code, Indonesia’s number one exported product is palm oil followed by coal then petroleum gases.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$27.9 billion (19.3% of total exports)
  2. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $18.2 billion (12.6%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $8.1 billion (5.6%)
  4. Gems, precious metals: $6.4 billion (4.4%)
  5. Vehicles: $5.9 billion (4.1%)
  6. Rubber, rubber articles: $5.7 billion (3.9%)
  7. Machinery including computers: $5.5 billion (3.8%)
  8. Footwear: $4.6 billion (3.2%)
  9. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $3.9 billion (2.7%)
  10. Wood: $3.9 billion (2.7%)

Propelled by strong sales of jewelry and precious metal scrap, gems and precious metals were the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 434.4% over the 7-year period starting in 2009.

In second place for improving export sales were vehicles which rose in value by 222.5% led by cars and automotive parts.

Indonesian footwear posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 167.3%.

Mineral fuels including oil was the sole declining categories via its -15.4% depreciation.


Overall, Indonesia garnered an $8.8 billion trade surplus during 2016 having whittled down a $19.7 billion surplus in 2009 by 55.1%.

The following types of Indonesian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports is the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: US$18.1 billion (Up by 49.3% since 2009)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: $8.6 billion (Down by -37.8%)
  3. Gems, precious metals: $5.5 billion (Up by 384.1%)
  4. Footwear: $4.2 billion (Up by 158.7%)
  5. Rubber, rubber articles: $4 billion (Up by 4.5%)
  6. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $3.6 billion (Up by 20.3%)
  7. Wood: $3.5 billion (Up by 68.3%)
  8. Ores, slag, ash: $3.3 billion (Down by -41.2%)
  9. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $3.1 billion (Up by 28.9%)
  10. Fish: $2.7 billion (Up by 70.8%)

Indonesia has highly positive net exports in the international trade of palm oil, coconut oil and margarine. In turn, these cashflows indicate Indonesia’s strong competitive advantages under the animal or vegetable fats and oils product category.


Below are exports from Indonesia that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Indonesia’s goods trail Indonesian importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Machinery including computers: -US$15.6 billion (Up by 56% since 2009)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$7.3 billion (Up by 147.7%)
  3. Plastics, plastic articles: -$4.7 billion (Up by 228.8%)
  4. Iron, steel: -$4.4 billion (Up by 24.3%)
  5. Cereals: -$3.2 billion (Up by 114.3%)
  6. Organic chemicals: -$2.4 billion (Up by 6.1%)
  7. Sugar, sugar confectionery: -$2.1 billion (Up by 288.5%)
  8. Food industry waste, animal fodder: -$1.9 billion (Up by 34.4%)
  9. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$1.8 billion (Up by 135.9%)
  10. Cotton: -$1.3 billion (Up by 38.1%)

Indonesia has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery, particularly computers.


Indonesian Export Companies

Nine Indonesian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000 for 2015. Below is a sample of the major Indonesian conglomerates that Forbes included:

  • Gudang Garam (Tobacco)
  • Semen Indonesia (Construction Materials)
  • Telekom Indonesia (Telecommunications services)

Wikipedia also lists exporters from Indonesia. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Astra International (financial/industrial conglomerate)
  • Bumi Resources (coal)
  • Djarum (tobacco cigarettes)
  • Dragon Computer & Communication (computer hardware)
  • Krakatau Steel (steel products)
  • MedcoEnergi (oil, gas)
  • Pertamina (oil, natural gas)
  • United Tractors (heavy equipment)

Indonesia’s capital city is Jakarta.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Indonesia’s Top Trading Partners, Indonesia’s Top 10 Imports, Top Asian Export Countries and Coal Exports by Country

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 26, 2017

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on April 26, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on April 26, 2017

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 26, 2017

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Indonesia. Accessed on April 26, 2017

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 26, 2017