That dollar amount reflects a 35.2% gain since 2017 when Indonesian exports totaled $168.8 billion and a 39.8% acceleration from $163.3 billion in 2020.
Indonesia’s 3 most valuable exported goods are palm oil, coal and petroleum gas. Combined, that trio of commodities generated over one-quarter (26.6%) of Indonesian exports sold in 2021.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2021, the Indonesian rupiah depreciated by -6.9% against the US dollar since 2017 but appreciated by 1.9% from 2020 to 2021. Indonesia’s stronger local currency compared to 2020 makes its exports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively more expensive for international buyers in 2021.
Major Customers for Indonesian Exported Products
The latest available country-specific data shows that 76.9% of products exported from Indonesia were bought by importers in: mainland China (23.5% of the global total), United States of America (11.2%), Japan (7.8%), India (5.8%), Malaysia (5.2%), Singapore (4.9%), Philippines (3.75%), South Korea (3.68%), Thailand (3.04%), Taiwan (3%), Vietnam (2.9%) and the Netherlands (2%).
From a continental perspective, 71.6% of Indonesia’s exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 12.3% were sold to importers in North America. Indonesia shipped another 9.9% worth of goods to Europe.
Smaller percentages went to Africa (3%), Oceania led by Australia (1.8%), then Latin America (1.5%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Given Indonesia’s population of 272.2 million people, its total $228.2 billion in 2021 exports translates to roughly $840 for every resident in the Asian nation. That dollar metric exceeds the average $600 per capita in 2020.
Indonesia’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Indonesian global shipments during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Indonesia.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$45.1 billion (19.8% of total exports)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $32.8 billion (14.4%)
- Iron, steel: $20.9 billion (9.2%)
- Vehicles: $8.6 billion (3.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $8.5 billion (3.7%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $7.1 billion (3.1%)
- Other chemical goods: $6.9 billion (3%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $6.4 billion (2.8%)
- Machinery including computers: $6.3 billion (2.8%)
- Footwear: $6.2 billion (2.7%)
By value, Indonesia’s top 10 exports totaled almost two-thirds (65.2%) of Indonesia’s total exports.
Ores, slag and ash represents the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 96.3% from 2020 to 2021. That product category was galvanized by Indonesia’s higher international sales of exported copper ores and concentrates.
In second place for improving export sales were the materials iron and steel via a 93.1% gain.
Indonesia’s shipments of other chemical goods: posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 81.8%.
The lone decliner among Indonesia’s top 10 export categories was electrical machinery and equipment thanks to its -8.1% drop year over year.
Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Indonesia’s Most Valuable Export Products below.
Products Generating Highest Trade Surpluses for Indonesia
Indonesia went generated $32.5 billion trade surplus for 2021, up by 50% from $21.7 billion in black ink one year earlier in 2020.
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.
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: US$32.5 billion (Up by 58.5% since 2020)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $16.3 billion (Up by 66.1%)
- Iron, steel: $9 billion (Up by 125.3%)
- Footwear: $5.4 billion (Up by 29.7%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $4.6 billion (Up by 87.3%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $4.6 billion (Up by 18.4%)
- Wood: $4.5 billion (Up by 30.1%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $4 billion (Up by 31.6%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $3.8 billion (Up by 15.2%)
- Fish: $3.4 billion (Up by 3.6%)
Indonesia has highly positive net exports in the international trade of palm oil, coal and crude oil. In turn, these cashflows indicate Indonesia’s strong competitive advantages under the related product categories.
Products Causing Worst Trade Deficits for Indonesia
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.
- Machinery including computers: -US$19.5 billion (Up by 17.7% since 2020)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$13.9 billion (Up by 40.7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$7.3 billion (Up by 60.2%)
- Cereals: -$4.1 billion (Up by 35.4%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$3.8 billion (Up by 571.6%)
- Organic chemicals: -$3.6 billion (Up by 35.2%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$2.5 billion (Up by 8.2%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: -$2.4 billion (Up by 22.5%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: -$2.2 billion (Up by 13%)
- Knit or crochet fabric: -$1.9 billion (Up by 46.3%)
Indonesia has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery, particularly those related to computers.
Major Indonesian Export Companies
Nine Indonesian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Indonesian conglomerates that Forbes included.
- Gudang Garam (Tobacco)
- Semen Indonesia (Construction Materials)
- Telekom Indonesia (Telecommunications services)
Wikipedia also lists exporters from Indonesia. Selected examples are shown below.
- Astra International (financial/industrial conglomerate)
- Bumi Resources (coal)
- Djarum (tobacco cigarettes)
- Dragon Computer & Communication (computer hardware)
- Krakatau Steel (steel products)
- MedcoEnergi (oil, gas)
- Pertamina (oil, natural gas)
- United Tractors (heavy equipment)
Searchable List of Indonesia’s Most Valuable Export Products
The following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Indonesia during 2021. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2020.
|Rank||Indonesia's Export Product||2021 Value (US$)||Change|
|2||Coal, solid fuels made from coal||$26,538,188,000||+82.4%|
|5||Flat-rolled stainless steel items||$6,586,130,000||+120%|
|6||Copper ores, concentrates||$5,386,226,000||+123.3%|
|7||Industrial fatty acids and alcohols||$5,298,920,000||+81.7%|
|10||Stainless steel ingots||$3,726,820,000||+128.5%|
|17||Laminated wood (including plywood, veneer panels)||$2,517,816,000||+44.3%|
|18||Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)||$2,505,328,000||+17.8%|
|20||Uncoated paper for writing/printing||$2,003,215,000||+9.8%|
|22||Refined copper, unwrought alloys||$1,867,289,000||+48.5%|
|23||Iron or non-alloy steel products (semi-finished)||$1,835,054,000||+342.1%|
|24||Rubber tires (new)||$1,715,924,000||+15.5%|
|25||Crustaceans (including lobsters)||$1,710,816,000||+6.4%|
|32||Phone devices including smartphones||$1,494,720,000||-2.9%|
|33||Processed petroleum oils||$1,366,094,000||+93.3%|
|34||Miscellaneous oil cakes||$1,326,786,000||+77.5%|
|35||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$1,280,325,000||+45.4%|
|36||Nickel matte, oxide sinters||$1,264,628,000||+65.4%|
|37||Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)||$1,250,844,000||+73.9%|
|38||Crustaceans, molluscs (preserved/prepared)||$1,207,034,000||+32.9%|
|39||Precious metal waste, scrap||$1,152,221,000||+8.9%|
|42||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$942,665,000||+36.4%|
|44||Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)||$875,536,000||+0%|
|47||Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)||$841,753,000||+38.5%|
|48||Animal/vegetable hydrogenated fats, oils||$838,065,000||+190.5%|
|49||Cases, handbags, wallets||$836,745,000||+47.2%|
|50||Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)||$812,165,000||+27%|
|51||Saturated acyclic mono acids||$801,564,000||+49.8%|
|52||Organic surface-active products, soap||$799,074,000||+17%|
|54||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$771,179,000||+11.6%|
|55||Uncombed artificial staple fibers||$747,574,000||+80.4%|
|56||Clothing, accessories (vulcanized rubber)||$740,995,000||+58.8%|
|57||Chemical woodpulp (dissolving)||$735,211,000||+85.5%|
|58||Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products||$733,334,000||+42.4%|
|59||Synthetic staple fiber yarn||$715,763,000||+48.1%|
|62||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$673,897,000||+10.7%|
|63||Cocoa butter, fat, oil||$668,825,000||-15.4%|
|64||Fish fillets, pieces||$648,486,000||+15%|
|65||Aluminum ores, concentrates||$628,176,000||+13.1%|
|66||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$621,368,000||+28.8%|
|68||Petroleum oil residues||$614,097,000||-17.1%|
|69||Other food preparations||$602,313,000||+23%|
|70||Coffee/tea extracts, concentrates||$601,996,000||+14.2%|
|71||Footwear (rubber or plastic)||$575,290,000||+38.9%|
|73||Yarn (85%+ cotton)||$558,290,000||+35.5%|
|74||Coconuts, cashews, Brazil nuts||$556,872,000||+2.3%|
|75||Wood carpentry, builders' joinery||$540,549,000||+31.9%|
|77||Turtles' eggs, birds' nests||$517,961,000||-4.2%|
|79||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$496,374,000||+13.2%|
|81||Piston engine parts||$489,904,000||+32.4%|
|82||Bras, corsets (not knit or crochet)||$487,820,000||+61.4%|
|83||Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys||$486,274,000||+23.6%|
|84||Coiled iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods||$475,900,000||+182.5%|
|85||Men's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)||$465,935,000||+8.1%|
|86||Women's shirts (not knit or crochet)||$456,271,000||+5.3%|
|88||Miscellaneous iron and steel structures||$440,640,000||+60.2%|
|91||Whole fish (frozen)||$432,672,000||-18.2%|
|93||Wigs, false beards, eyelashes||$421,330,000||+8.7%|
|95||Miscellaneous vegetable products||$415,147,000||+32.2%|
|96||Medication mixes in dosage||$409,424,000||-13.3%|
|97||Electrical converters/power units||$408,138,000||+16.6%|
|100||Musical instruments including electrical||$401,254,000||+35.6%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$189 billion or more than four-fifths (82.8%) by value for all products exported from Indonesia during 2021.
In macroeconomic terms, Indonesia’s total exported goods represent 6.4% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($3.566 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 6.4% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2021 compares to 4.9% for 2020. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Indonesia’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Indonesia’s average unemployment rate was 6.49% in 2021, down from an average 7.07% for 2020 according to the International Monetary Fund.
Indonesia’s capital city is Jakarta.
See also Indonesia’s Top Trading Partners, Indonesia’s Top 10 Imports, Top Asian Export Countries, Palm Oil Exports by Country and Coal Exports by Country
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook report on East Asia/Southeast Asia: Indonesia. Accessed on May 30, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 30, 2022
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on May 30, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on May 30, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 30, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on May 30, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on May 30, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Indonesia. Accessed on May 30, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on May 30, 2022