Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Indonesian rupiah depreciated by -5.7% against the US dollar since 2015 but appreciated slightly by 0.6% from 2018 to 2019. Indonesia’s modestly stronger local currency since 2018 makes its exports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively more expensive for international buyers in 2019.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 76.3% of products exported from Indonesia were bought by importers in: China (15.1% of the global total), Japan (10.8%), United States (10.2%), India (7.6%), Singapore (7.2%), South Korea (5.3%), Malaysia (5.2%), Philippines (3.8%), Thailand (also 3.8%), Taiwan (2.6%), Vietnam (2.5%) and the Netherlands (2.2%).
From a continental perspective, 72% of Indonesia’s exports by value were delivered to Asia countries while 11.3% were sold to importers in North America. Indonesia shipped another 10.6% worth of goods to Europe. Smaller percentages went to Africa (2.6%), Oceania led by Australia (2%) then Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.5%).
Given Indonesia’s population of 267 million people, its total $183.5 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $700 for every resident in the Asian nation.
Indonesia’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Indonesian global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Indonesia.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$39 billion (21.3% of total exports)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $13.8 billion (7.5%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $13.3 billion (7.3%)
- Footwear: $7.4 billion (4.1%)
- Iron, steel: $7.1 billion (3.9%)
- Vehicles: $7 billion (3.8%)
- Gems, precious metals: $6.9 billion (3.7%)
- Machinery including computers: $6.7 billion (3.7%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $6.4 billion (3.5%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $5.2 billion (2.8%)
Indonesia’s top 10 exports approached two-thirds (61.5%) of Indonesia’s total exports.
Electrical machinery and equipment was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 50.5% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales was footwear. Indonesia’s shipments of iron and steel posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 23.5%.
The leading decliner among Indonesia’s top 10 export categories was animal or vegetable fats, oils and waxes due to a -32.2% 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.
Overall Indonesia went from an -$8.5 billion trade deficit in 2018 to generate an estimated $27.1 billion trade surplus for 2019.
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. Mineral fuels including oil: US$23.1 billion (85% of total exports)
2. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $13.6 billion (49.9%)
3. Footwear: $6.6 billion (24.5%)
4. Gems, precious metals: $4.8 billion (17.6%)
5. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $4.6 billion (17.1%)
6. Rubber, rubber articles: $4.5 billion (16.7%)
7. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $4.1 billion (15%)
8. Ores, slag, ash: $3.8 billion (14%)
9. Wood: $3.6 billion (13.3%)
10. Fish:$3 billion (10.9%)
Indonesia has highly positive net exports in the international trade of coal and crude oil. In turn, these cashflows indicate Indonesia’s strong competitive advantages under mineral fuels-related products 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.
- Machinery including computers: -US$19.2 billion (Down by -9.8% since 2018)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$6.6 billion (Down by -47.9%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$5.6 billion (Down by -15.7%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$3 billion (Up by 17.3%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$2.6 billion (Up by 14.4%)
- Organic chemicals: -$2.5 billion (Down by -36.2%)
- Cereals: -$1.9 billion (Down by -48%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: -$1.9 billion (Up by 149.8%)
- Knit or crochet fabric: -$1.6 billion (Up by 7.6%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: -$1.4 billion (Down by -37.7%)
Indonesia has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery, particularly products related to computers.
Indonesian Export Companies
Nine Indonesian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Indonesian conglomerates that Forbes included.
- Gudang Garam (Tobacco)
- Semen Indonesia (Construction Materials)
- Telekom Indonesia (Telecommunications services)
Wikipedia also lists exporters from Indonesia. Selected examples are shown below.
- Astra International (financial/industrial conglomerate)
- Bumi Resources (coal)
- Djarum (tobacco cigarettes)
- Dragon Computer & Communication (computer hardware)
- Krakatau Steel (steel products)
- MedcoEnergi (oil, gas)
- Pertamina (oil, natural gas)
- United Tractors (heavy equipment)
Searchable List of Indonesia’s Most Valuable Export Products
The following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Indonesia during 2019. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2018.
|Rank||Indonesia's Export Product||2019 Value (US$)||Change|
|1||Coal, solid fuels made from coal||$21,487,717,000||+4.1%|
|7||Flat-rolled stainless steel items||$3,159,340,000||+37.5%|
|10||Industrial fatty acids and alcohols||$2,824,227,000||-5.2%|
|13||Precious metal waste, scrap||$2,513,625,000||+81.6%|
|14||Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)||$2,360,870,000||-6.2%|
|15||Uncoated paper for writing/printing||$2,305,087,000||-2.2%|
|17||Processed petroleum oils||$2,070,796,000||+125.1%|
|20||Nickel ores, concentrates||$1,716,294,000||+173.3%|
|21||Laminated wood (including plywood, veneer panels)||$1,670,895,000||-18.9%|
|22||Rubber tires (new)||$1,657,384,000||+2.7%|
|25||Phone system devices including smartphones||$1,568,211,000||+154.8%|
|27||Light vessels, fire boats, floating docks||$1,509,974,000||+2344.8%|
|28||Crustaceans (including lobsters)||$1,439,961,000||-8.5%|
|30||Copper ores, concentrates||$1,387,597,000||-66.9%|
|31||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$1,362,677,000||+39.6%|
|33||Footwear (rubber or plastic)||$1,263,490,000||+142.4%|
|34||Nickel matte, oxide sinters||$1,190,656,000||+53.3%|
|36||Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)||$1,081,027,000||+2.8%|
|39||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$976,604,000||+12.6%|
|40||Cases, handbags, wallets||$943,886,000||+88.8%|
|41||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$928,536,000||+100.3%|
|42||Refined copper, unwrought alloys||$909,450,000||-10.5%|
|44||Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)||$860,086,000||+5.8%|
|45||Crustaceans, molluscs (preserved/prepared)||$836,053,000||+19.2%|
|47||Chemical woodpulp (dissolving)||$825,406,000||+694.5%|
|49||Miscellaneous oil cakes||$815,995,000||+23.3%|
|50||Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels||$807,874,000||+254.8%|
|51||Cocoa butter, fat, oil||$789,388,000||-4.2%|
|52||Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)||$771,508,000||+41.2%|
|54||Aluminum ores, concentrates||$712,355,000||+170.2%|
|56||Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys||$690,388,000||+84.2%|
|57||Electrical converters/power units||$679,720,000||+75.7%|
|58||Women's shirts (not knit or crochet)||$670,943,000||-2.1%|
|59||Yarn (synthetic staple fibers)||$666,442,000||-22.2%|
|61||Computers, optical readers||$614,847,000||+120.8%|
|63||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$581,938,000||-13.4%|
|65||Fish fillets, pieces||$565,955,000||+9.2%|
|66||Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)||$563,973,000||-9.7%|
|67||Coffee/tea extracts, concentrates||$562,734,000||-2.3%|
|68||Electric-powered musical instruments||$538,761,000||+90.4%|
|69||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$535,289,000||-3.1%|
|71||Turtles' eggs, birds' nests||$530,927,000||+82.2%|
|73||Piston engine parts||$515,871,000||+21%|
|74||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$512,533,000||-9.2%|
|75||Animal/vegetable fats, oils (boiled, oxidized, dehydrated)||$502,896,000||+590.6%|
|76||Men's shirts (not knit or crochet)||$483,952,000||+1.5%|
|78||Bras, corsets (not knit or crochet)||$476,453,000||+24.6%|
|80||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$472,741,000||+77.3%|
|81||Miscellaneous wooden articles||$470,727,000||+18.9%|
|82||Yarn (85%+ cotton)||$454,933,000||-10%|
|83||Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)||$452,534,000||-0.8%|
|85||Men's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)||$449,251,000||+3.5%|
|87||Other food preparations||$431,251,000||+2.2%|
|88||Stainless steel ingots||$430,926,000||-47.5%|
|89||Animal/vegetable hydrogenated fats, oils||$421,613,000||+48.8%|
|90||Women's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)||$415,657,000||+167.7%|
|93||Electric shavers, hair clippers/removers||$390,817,000||+115.5%|
|95||Whole fish (frozen)||$389,580,000||+2.2%|
|96||Wood carpentry, builders' joinery||$384,435,000||-12.9%|
|97||Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products||$383,232,000||-9.9%|
|98||Unprocessed artificial staple fibers||$376,563,000||+17.3%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$144.7 billion or 78.8% by value for all products exported from Indonesia during 2019.
In macroeconomic terms, Indonesia’s total exported goods represent 4.9% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($3.736 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 4.9% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 5.2% for 2018. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing 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 5.28% for 2019 down from 5.34% during 2018, 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 and Coal Exports by Country
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook report on East Asia/Southeast Asia: Indonesia. Accessed on April 22, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 22, 2020
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on April 22, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 22, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 22, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 22, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on April 22, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Indonesia. Accessed on April 22, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on April 22, 2020