UPDATE 1-Indonesia's trade deficit widens to record $2.31 bln
JAKARTA, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Indonesia's trade deficit widened to a record $2.31 billion in July due to a larger-than-expected rise in imports, the statistics bureau said on Monday.
On an annual basis, exports rose 2.37 percent in July while imports surged 11.40 percent on higher oil and gas shipments.
The median projection of Reuters poll was for a July trade deficit of $400 million.
The rupiah has tumbled nearly 12 percent so far this year as worries about Indonesia's fiscal health, especially its trade and current account deficits, prompt foreign investors to sell Indonesian bonds, stocks and other assets.
After the release of the trade data, the benchmark share index dropped 1.6 percent to around 4127.
In the currency market, indicated spot rates for the rupiah were little changed at 10,910 per dollar, but traders said the central bank was continuing to defend the psychological 11,000 mark by supplying dollar liquidity. However, dealers said some trades were made at weaker levels.
The statistics bureau also reported annual inflation was a less-than-expected 8.79 percent in August, the highest since January 2009.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile food prices and administered prices, climbed to 4.48 percent in August from 4.44 percent in July.
Bank Indonesia has estimated that at year-end, inflation will be 9.0-9.8 percent.
On Thursday, the central bank raised its benchmark reference rate 50 basis points to 7 percent in a bid to tame inflation and boost the ailing rupiah.
(Reporting by Nilufar Rizki and Adriana Nina Kusuma; Writing by Rieka Rahadiana; Editing by Richard Borsuk)