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Indonesia's GDP grows promising good returns to investors

Indonesia's economy, contrary to many of the world's leading economies, showed strong growth in Q4 2021. The gains were made possible by a rebound in consumption rates immediately after the easing of travel restrictions, while higher commodity prices pushed exports to all-time highs.

Indonesia's GDP grows promising good returns to investors


The economy of one of Southeast Asia's leading countries grew at an annualized rate of 5.02% in the fourth quarter, according to data from the Indonesian Statistical Office. The figure looks especially good when compared to growth of 3.51% in the previous quarter. However, the growth came as no surprise to experts, who this time agreed with the government's estimate of GDP. Their median forecast fell slightly short of the final mark, amounting to 4.9% according to the preliminary survey.

In 2021, gross domestic product increased by 3.69%, compared to a decrease of 2.07% a year earlier. The economy recovered quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The outlook for this year is still questionable due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases, potential stock market volatility due to global tightening of monetary stimulus, and Indonesia's emphasis on ultra-soft monetary and fiscal policies.

"Indonesia's economy rebounded strongly in the final quarter of last year, but the recovery is now entering a more difficult phase," analyst Gareth Leather said. "Omicron will act as a small obstacle in the first quarter. But a bigger drag will come from falling commodity prices and policy tightening."

Indonesia was hit by a severe wave of COVID-19 cases in July-August 2021, but travel restrictions were eased by the end of August as the number of cases decreased.

COVID-19 cases are now rising again in Indonesia due to the spread of the Omicron variant, with 36,057 new cases on Sunday being the highest since August. However, authorities have not reimposed strict anti-virus measures.

Household consumption, which accounts for more than half of Indonesia's GDP, rose by 3.6% in Q4, quickening from the 1% growth in the previous three months, signaling a positive economic impact of the early lifting of restrictions.

However, investment and government spending also grew in proportion to income in the fourth quarter, which the head of the Indonesian Statistics Authority, Margo Yuwono, attributed to the resumption of public and private sector activity, which had already been halted in the third quarter.

The export sector showed strong data. Thus, export growth also accelerated to 29.8% in Q4 from 29.2% in Q3 as prices for export products such as palm oil, coal and nickel remained high.

Josua Pardede, an economist with Bank Permata in Jakarta, said he expects 2022 GDP growth to recover further to between 4.8% to 5%, as the government maintains healthcare and social protection spending.

The Bank of Indonesia will start unwinding easy monetary policy with hikes in banks' reserve requirement ratio starting in March. The tightening is seen as a necessary preparation for the US rate hikes, which have in the past roiled Indonesian financial markets.

The government also plans to increase the value-added tax rate for most goods and services in April as part of its budget normalization policy.

The contribution of exports to growth may also be limited by the ban on coal shipments abroad in January and a newly implemented domestic sale requirement for some palm oil products.

However, these restrictions are unlikely to affect export volumes in general.

The main stock index Jakarta SE Composite Index is rising nicely in trading on Monday, jumping by more than 1%. The USD/IDR pair is usually quite volatile during the trading session, but after the release of the news it began to fall, still maintaining a general upward trend since the day of the announcement of the US Federal Reserve policy tightening.

Trading analysis offered by Complex Trader - a RobotFX partner.