Imports of foreign retail goods to Bali reached a value of US$85.1 million between January and August this year, with economic experts saying it is a sign of a healthy economy. The value of exports from the island in the same period reached $387.2 million.
“The value of Bali’s non-oil imports increased from the same period in 2010, when they were worth $74.9 million,” said Sunarto, a senior economic researcher at the Bank of Indonesia (BI) in Denpasar on Tuesday.
Sunarto said the highest import figures were during May, when a total of $15.1 million of foreign imports entered Bali.
He said high rates of foreign imports were a sign of the rapid economic growth in Bali, which currently stands at around 6 percent annually.
Sunarto said much of the import value was accounted for by high-cost specialist items, including mechanical and electrical equipment, optical instruments, jewellery and metal goods, as well as top-end consumer goods.
China and Singapore accounted for much of the import goods, with $5.3 million worth of imports from Singapore in August alone.
Imports of pearls, gemstones, precious metals and jewellery in the first eight months of 2011 stood at $10.3 million, up from $9.7 million in the same period last year. Imports of photographic equipment, meanwhile, stood at $7.2 million.
Sunarto said items exported directly from Bali to foreign markets amounted for a value far outstripping that of imports, with the handicraft trade alone worth more than $150 million in the first eight months of the year.
However, he said the increasing import rates should be welcomed, as the predominance of high-cost goods amongst the imports was a sure sign of Bali’s increasing prosperity.