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POLL-Indonesia Aug trade surplus seen at near $2.2 bln, export fall slowing

* reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/econ-polls?RIC=IDTRD%3DECI poll data

* Aug exports seen at -5.79% y/y, vs July’s -9.9%

* Aug imports seen at -20.58% y/y, vs July’s -32.55%

* Aug trade surplus of $2.16 billion forecast, vs July’s $3.26 billion

* Trade data due at 0400 GMT on Tuesday, Sept. 15

JAKARTA, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Indonesia was seen posting a $2.16 billion trade surplus in August, slightly smaller than the previous month, with export and import contraction slowing, a Reuters poll showed on Monday.

Southeast Asia’s largest economy had its biggest trade surplus in nine years in July of $3.26 billion, as exports improved amid easing of coronavirus-induced restrictions in many trade-partner countries, but imports remained weak.

In the August poll, 14 economists surveyed expected the pace of contraction in exports to slow to a median of 5.79% on an annual basis, from 9.9% contraction July.

Imports were seen down 20.58% year-on-year, compared with the 32.55% plunge in July.

Economists at state-owned brokerage Mandiri Sekuritas said the moderation was likely due to improving demand for shipments from the country and higher prices of coal and palm oil, Indonesia’s top export products.

Indonesia’s capital city Jakarta on Monday began reinstating curbs to control its COVID-19 outbreak, which may further depress imports, but exports may continue to rise on the back of global economic recovery, Mandiri economists wrote in a note.

Jakarta is the epicentre of the nation’s outbreak. In total, Indonesia has reported 218,382 cases so far, with 8,723 deaths. (Polling by Nilufar Rizki and Fransiska Nangoy in Jakarta and Shaloo Shrivastava in Bengaluru; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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