Exports of Palm Oil-Based Products Re-Creates Indonesia’s Trade Surplus in the First Half of 2021

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The Covid-19 pandemic still occurs all over the world. Even some countries are facing a second or third wave, which is indicated by a significant increase in positive cases of Covid-19. This condition has increasingly weighed on the economy since the pandemic occurred in 2020, but the global PMI index shows an increase that reflects the global economic recovery.

The largest economies in the world, such as the United States and China, also showed positive GDP growth in the first half of this year (H1-2021). The Indonesian economy also showed a positive trend with a growth of 3.31% in Q2-2021. Although in the previous quarter, GDP growth experienced negative growth (-0.92%), cumulatively, the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) announced that the Indonesian economy in the first half of 2021 grew higher than the same period last year by 3.10%.

The component of expenditure approach that drives Indonesia’s economic growth in H1-2021 is an increase in export performance by 55.89% (YoY) or 10.36% (q to q). The export value in this period was recorded at USD 102.87 billion, or an increase of almost half of the value of exports in H1-2020 which was only USD 76.33 billion. The increase in Indonesia’s export performance during this period was also driven by the economic recovery in trading partner countries (importers).

palm oil

The commodity that has become a foreign exchange hero by contributing to Indonesia’s export performance in H1-2021 is palm oil. This fact is shown by the contribution of exports of palm oil-based products to the total export value during this period reached 15%. The data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) shows the total export value of palm oil-based products reached USD 15.65 billion, consisting of palm oil (CPO, RPO, CPKO, and RPKO) of USD 13.74 billion, oleochemicals of USD 1.88 billion, and biodiesel of USD 36.14 million. In fact, GAPKI also revealed that the export value of Indonesian palm oil-based products in May 2021 reached USD 3.06 billion and this value was the highest monthly export in history.

If we compare to H1-2020, there is an increase in the export value of palm oil-based products by 55.6%. The export value of palm products in the previous period was only USD 10.06 billion, consisting of palm oil (CPO, RPO, CPKO, and RPKO) of USD 8.78 billion, oleochemicals of USD 1.27 billion, and biodiesel of USD 6.11 million. Not only the export value, the export volume of palm oil-based products also increased from 15.5 million tons to 15.88 million tons, or an increase of 2.4% during the period.

The main factor that is driving the incresa in the export performance of palm oil-based products is the increase in the price of palm oil (a booming commodity) in the global market. The price of palm oil (CPO) on the future market on the Malaysian Derivatives Exchange showed an increasing trend and was relatively stable during the first half of this year.


The price of CPO in May 2021once touched the highest level in history by reaching RM 4506 per ton, but fell back to RM 3599 per ton at the end of June 2021. The average price of CIF Rotterdam CPO in May 2021 also set a new record in the last 10 years, with prices reaching USD 1231 per ton.

For the Indonesian economy, palm oil foreign exchange of USD 15.65 billion could add fresh blood so that Indonesia’s economic recovery can be optimal. Palm oil foreign exchange can also be healthy and even create a surplus in Indonesia’s trade balance. Based on BPS data, the accumulated trade balance for the January-June 2021 period shows the non-oil and gas balance was a surplus of USD 17.53 billion, while the oil and gas balance experienced a deficit of USD 5.7 billion, so the total trade balance in aggregate was a surplus of USD 11.83 billion.

Of the non-oil and gas surplus, around USD 15.65 billion or 89% of which came from palm oil foreign exchange. If there is no palm oil-based product foreign exchange, Indonesia will experience a trade balance deficit. Not only as major contributor to creating a trade surplus, but palm oil-based products in this period also set a new record as the highest trade surplus in the last five years.

In the midst of celebrating the contribution of palm oil products to the trade balance and the Indonesian economy, especially in the first half of 2021 period, there are things that the Indonesian government and palm oil industry players must pay attention to. Booming commodities with indicators of high palm oil prices must be considered. Palm oil industry players should not be satisfied with this condition. The phenomenon of high palm oil prices, which has an impact on the high profits received by them, must be used as a momentum to re-invest in the palm oil industry, such as developing mini plant for smallholders, so that they can contribute more to their welfare and the Indonesian economy.

Pandemi Covid-19 masih berlangsung di seluruh dunia, bahkan beberapa negara secara bergantian menghadapi gelombang kedua atau ketiga yang ditunjukkan dengan meningkatnya kasus positif Covid-19 secara signifikan. Meskipun kondisi ini semakin membebani perekonomian yang belum pulih sejak pandemi terjadi tahun 2020, namun pergerakkan indeks PMI global menunjukkan peningkatan yang merefleksikan terjadi pemulihan ekonomi global.

Negara dengan perekonomian terbesar di dunia juga menunjukkan pertumbuhan PDB yang positif pada semester 1 tahun 2021, seperti Amerika Serikat dan Tiongkok. Perekonomian Indonesia juga menunjukkan tren positif dengan pertumbuhan sebesar 3.31% pada Q2-2021. Meskipun pada kuartal sebelumnya pertumbuhan PDB Indonesia masih negatif (-0.92%), namun secara kumulatif, Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS) mengumumkan bahwa ekonomi Indonesia pada semester 1-2021 tumbuh lebih tinggi dibandingkan periode yang sama tahun lalu sebesar 3.10 persen.

Komponen dalam pendekatan pengeluaran yang mendorong pertumbuhan ekonomi Indonesia semester 1/2021 ini adalah meningkatnya kinerja ekspor sebesar 55.89% (YoY) atau 10.36% (q to q). Nilai ekspor pada semester ini tercatat mencapai USD 102.87 miliar, atau meningkat hampir setengah kali lipatnya dari nilai ekspor semester 1-2020 yang hanya sebesar USD 76.33 miliar. Peningkatan kinerja ekspor Indonesia pada periode ini juga didorong oleh pemulihan ekonomi yang terjadi di negara mitra dagang.

palm oil

Komoditas yang menjadi pahlawan devisa dengan memberikan kontribusi terhadap kinerja ekspor Indonesia semester 1-2021 adalah produk sawit. Fakta tersebut ditunjukkan oleh kontribusi ekspor produk sawit terhadap total nilai ekspor Indonesia periode ini mencapai 15%. Data BPS menunjukkan bahwa total nilai ekspor produk sawit mencapai USD 15.65 miliar, terdiri minyak sawit (CPO, RPO, CPKO dan RPKO) sebesar USD 13.74 miliar, oleokimia sebesar USD 1.88 miliar dan biodiesel sebesar USD 36.14 juta. Bahkan, GAPKI mencatat bahwa nilai ekspor produk sawit Indonesia pada periode Mei 2021 sebesar USD 3.06 miliar merupakan rekor ekspor bulanan produk sawit tertinggi sepanjang sejarah.

Jika dibandingkan dengan semester I-2020, menunjukkan bahwa terjadi peningkatan nilai ekspor produk sawit sebesar 55.6%. Nilai ekspor produk sawit pada periode lalu hanya sebesar USD 10.06 miliar, terdiri minyak sawit (CPO, RPO, CPKO dan RPKO) sebesar USD 8.78 miliar, oleokimia sebesar USD 1.27 miliar dan biodiesel sebesar USD 6.11 juta. Tidak hanya nilai ekspor, volume ekspor produk sawit juga mengalami peningkatan dari 15.5 juta ton menjadi 15.88 juta ton, atau meningkat sebesar 2.4% pada periode ini.

Faktor utama yang menyebabkan terjadinya peningkatan kinerja ekspor produk sawit pada semester 1-2021 adalah karena meningkatnya harga minyak sawit (booming commodity) di pasar internasional. Harga minyak sawit (CPO) pada future market di Bursa Derivatif Malaysia menunjukkan tren peningkatan dan relatif stabil tinggi sepanjang semester 1 tahun 2021.

Harga CPO pernah menyentuh level tertinggi sepanjang sejarah dengan mencapai RM 4506 per ton pada Mei 2021, namun kembali menurun menjadi RM 3599 per ton di akhir bulan Juni 2021. Harga rata-rata CPO CIF Rotterdam bulan Mei 2021 juga mencetak rekor harga rata-rata bulanan tertinggi dalam kurun waktu 10 tahun terakhir yaitu pada level harga sebesar USD 1241 per ton.

Bagi ekonomi Indonesia, devisa sawit sebesar USD 15.65 miliar dapat menambah darah segar yang sehingga pemulihan ekonomi Indonesia dapat optimal. Devisa sawit tersebut juga dapat menyehatkan bahkan membuat surplus neraca perdagangan Indonesia. Berdasarkan data BPS mencatat akumulasi neraca perdagangan periode Januari-Juni 2021 menunjukkan neraca non migas surplus USD 17.53 milyar sedangkan neraca migas mengalami defisit sebesar USD 5.7 milyar, sehingga total neraca perdagangan secara agregat surplus sebesar USD 11.83 milyar.

Dari  surplus non migas tersebut sekitar USD 15.65 milyar atau 89 persen berasal dari devisa sawit. Seandainya tidak ada devisa sawit,  Indonesia akan mengalami defisit neraca  perdagangan. Tidak hanya menjadi kontributor utama dalam menciptakan surplus perdagangan, ekspor produk sawit juga berhasil mencatatkan rekor baru surplus perdagangan pada periode semester 1-2021 menjadi yang tertinggi selama periode tahun 2016-2020.

Ditengah selebrasi kontribusi produk sawit terhadap neraca perdagangan dan perekonomian Indonesia khususnya pada periode semester 1-2021, namun ada hal yang harus diperhatikan oleh Pemerintah Indonesia maupun pelaku industri sawit. Booming commodity dengan indikator tingginya harga minyak sawit harus diperhatikan. Pelaku industri sawit jangan terlena dengan kondisi ini. Fenomena tingginya harga minyak sawit yang berdampak pada tingginya profit yang diterima oleh pelaku usaha, harus dijadikan momentum untuk lebih maju dengan melakukan investasi dalam industri sawit seperti pengembangan PKS bagi petani sawit, sehingga dapat berkontribusi lebih besar bagi kesejahteraan petani maupun perekonomian Indonesia.

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