Foreign exchange generated from the Indonesian palm oil industry is relatively small compared to what is generated by other Indonesian export commodities. So, the export of Indonesian palm oil is not too important for the national economy.

Devisa yang dihasilkan industri minyak sawit Indonesia relatif kecil dibandingkan industri-industri ekspor Indonesia lainnya. Sehingga ekspor minyak sawit Indonesia tidak terlalu penting bagi perekonomian nasional.

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Foreign exchange is a measurement of net exports, namely the value of exports minus the value of imports. If an industry exports commodities of great value, but also imports commodities of great value, then it would generate limited foreign exchange, or even create a foreign exchange deficit.

In the Indonesian economy, the non-oil sector (including the palm oil industry) is the mainstay for generating foreign exchange. From 2008 to 2016 (Table) the value of net exports of non-oil and gas sector fluctuated, but it maintained a surplus.

Table:   Export value of palm oil and net export value of non-oil and gas in Indonesia (USD billion)

YearNet export value of palm oilNet export value of non-oil and gas aside from palm oilNet export value of non-oil and gas

Source: BPS

If the export value of non-oil and gas is divided into the export of palm oil and non palm oil, it will be seen that the net value of palm oil exports is consistently in surplus with an increasing trend. In contrast, the net value of exports aside from palm oil tends to decrease from surplus to deficit. In total, the net non-oil and gas exports are still in a surplus as caused by palm oil exports.

The data clearly show that palm oil exports are an important component and the savior of Indonesia’s non-oil and gas trade. Without the export of palm oil, Indonesia’s trade balance would be in deficit (that is, there would be a negative foreign exchange).

Devisa negara merupakan suatu ekspor netto yakni nilai ekspor dikurang dengan nilai impornya. Suatu industri ekspor meskipun menyumbang nilai ekspor yang besar, apabila nilai impornya juga besar maka secara netto akan menghasilkan devisa yang kecil bahkan dapat menjadi defisit devisa.

Dalam perekonomian Indonesia, sektor non migas (termasuk didalamnya industri minyak sawit) merupakan sektor andalan untuk menghasilkan devisa negara. Selama periode 2008-2016 (Tabel) nilai ekspor netto sektor non migas mengalami fluktuasi tetapi secara netto masih surplus.

Tabel.     Nilai Ekspor Minyak Sawit dan Netto Ekspor Non Migas Indonesia (USD Miliar)

TahunNetto Ekspor Minyak SawitNetto Ekspor Non Migas Selain
Minyak Sawit
Netto Ekspor Non Migas

Sumber : BPS

Jika nilai eskpor non migas dipisahkan antara ekspor minyak sawit dan non minyak sawit akan terlihat bahwa nilai netto ekspor minyak sawit secara konsisten mengalami surplus dengan kecenderungan yang meningkat. Sebaliknya nilai netto ekspor di luar minyak sawit cenderung menurun dari surplus menjadi defisit. Secara total nilai netto ekspor non migas masih mengalami surplus yang disumbang oleh ekspor minyak sawit.

Data tersebut dengan jelas menunjukkan bahwa ekspor minyak sawit merupakan komponen penting dan penyelamat neraca perdagangan non migas Indonesia. Tanpa ekspor minyak sawit neraca perdagangan Indonesia akan mengalami defisit (negatif devisa).

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