Indonesia’s Top 10 Exports

Bali fabrics

Bali fabrics

Located mostly in Southeast Asia extending to some territories in the Oceania continent across from Australia, the Republic of Indonesia shipped US$168.8 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a -7.5% drop since 2013 but up by 16.8% from 2015 to 2016.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Indonesia’s exported goods plus services represent 19.2% of total Indonesian economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes a sizable share of re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, 70.7% of Indonesian exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 11.6% were sold to North American importers closely trailed by European destinations at 11.4%. Smaller percentages were shipped to Africa (2.8%), Australia and other Oceania importers (1.9%) and Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.5%).

Given Indonesia’s population of 260.6 million people, its total $168.8 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $650 for every resident in that country.

Indonesia’s unemployment rate was 5.5% at December 2017 down from 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 2017. 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 most valuable exported product is palm oil followed by coal, petroleum gases, crude oil, natural rubber, copper then cars.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$36.9 billion (21.8% of total exports)
  2. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $23 billion (13.6%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $8.5 billion (5%)
  4. Rubber, rubber articles: $7.7 billion (4.6%)
  5. Vehicles: $6.8 billion (4%)
  6. Machinery including computers: $5.9 billion (3.5%)
  7. Gems, precious metals: $5.6 billion (3.3%)
  8. Footwear: $4.9 billion (2.9%)
  9. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $4.1 billion (2.5%)
  10. Wood: $4 billion (2.4%)

Indonesia’s top 10 exports account for almost two-thirds (63.6%) of Indonesia’s total exports.

Up by 36.7% from 2016 to 2017, rubber and articles made from rubber posted the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories.

In second place for improving export sales were mineral fuels-related products which rose in value by 32.3% led by coal, petroleum gas, lignite and refined petroleum oils.

Animal or vegetable fats, oils and waxes generated the third-fastest gain in value via a 26% year-over-year improvement, trailed by the 16.5% uptick for Indonesia’s exported vehicle sales.

Gems and precious metals was the sole declining category retreating in value by -11.9% since 2016, thanks mainly to slowing jewelry exports.


Overall Indonesia garnered an $11.9 billion trade surplus during 2017, up 34.5% from $8.8 billion in black ink in 2016.

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 represent 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$22.8 billion (Up by 26.1% since 2016)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: $11.4 billion (Up by 32.5%)
  3. Rubber, rubber articles: $5.7 billion (Up by 43%)
  4. Gems, precious metals: $4.5 billion (Down by -18.3%)
  5. Footwear: $4.3 billion (Up by 3.6%)
  6. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $3.8 billion (Up by 5.2%)
  7. Wood: $3.6 billion (Up by 2%)
  8. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $3.5 billion (Up by 11.4%)
  9. Ores, slag, ash: $3.3 billion (Down by -0.1%)
  10. Fish: $3 billion (Up by 12%)

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$15.9 billion (Up by 1.8% since 2016)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$9.5 billion (Up by 30%)
  3. Plastics, plastic articles: -$5.3 billion (Up by 12.3%)
  4. Iron, steel: -$4.6 billion (Up by 6.5%)
  5. Cereals: -$2.9 billion (Down by -8.1%)
  6. Organic chemicals: -$2.8 billion (Up by 15.6%)
  7. Sugar, sugar confectionery: -$2.1 billion (Down by -0.8%)
  8. Food industry waste, animal fodder: -$2 billion (Up by 6.3%)
  9. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$2 billion (Up by 9.9%)
  10. Articles of iron or steel: -$1.6 billion (Up by 23.4%)

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. 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 22, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on April 22, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on April 22, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 22, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Indonesia. Accessed on April 22, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 22, 2018