Indonesia, which for decades had annual trade surpluses, in 2012 and 2013 had trade deficits. These added to the country's current-account deficits and contributed to pressure on the rupiah.
Also hurting the rupiah during 2013 were fears of capital outflows rooted in the U.S. Federal Reserve's stimulus scale back due to its current account deficit.
The current account, the widest measure of the flow of goods, services and money in and out of Indonesia, has remained in deficit for nearly two years.
The government has said that the current-account deficit in 2013's third quarter was 3.8 percent of gross domestic product. That was bigger than an earlier estimate for the period, but smaller than the record high 4.4 percent in April-June.
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On Thursday, the statistics bureau said annual inflation in December was 8.38 percent, marginally above the previous month's 8.37 percent.
In 2012, inflation was only about half of last year's level, at 4.3 percent. But inflation in 2013 stayed below Bank Indonesia's revised target of 9-9.8 percent.
On a monthly basis, the headline inflation rate in December rose 0.55 percent against 0.12 percent the previous month.
Dariusz Kowalczyk, a senior economist and strategist for Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong, said November's decline in imports highlights "a weakening of domestic demand and the continued impact of price hikes". The month's sizable trade balance "should be viewed very positively by markets" and is positive for the rupiah, he said.
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Economists said Indonesia might have another trade surplus in December, helped by high mineral exports. But the outlook for 2014 exports has been dimmed by the parliament's rejection of a government proposal to exempt certain miners from a ban on exports of metal ore that took effect on Jan. 1.