UPDATE 1-Indonesia c.bank sees exports improving in H2 on China growth
(Adds background, inflation comment)
JAKARTA, March 8 (Reuters) - Indonesian exports will likely improve in the second half of this year due to stronger economic growth in China and Singapore, a deputy governor of the central bank said on Friday.
Bank Indonesia left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low 5.75 percent on Thursday, saying it expected price pressures to ease after inflation hit a 20-month high in February.
"We expect exports will improve in the second half ... there are several indicators that we are watching, like China, our main trading partner that are improving. The economic indicators in Singapore have also improved," Halim Alamsyah told reporters.
In January, the trade deficit narrowed to $170 billion from a revised $190 billion for December. Exports shrank 1.2 percent for a year earlier, while imports rose 6.8 percent.
The rupiah currency has been under pressure since last year because of the country's trade and current account deficits.
Alamsyah also said inflation remained at a "tolerable level" within the bank's target range of 3.5-5.5 percent.
Indonesia's headline inflation rate picked up to 5.31 percent in January on-year from 4.57 percent in December, but the core inflation rate was little changed at 4.29 percent.
(Reporting by Rieka Rahadiana; Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Richard Borsuk & Kim Coghill)