Coronavirus Update #42 December 14, 2020
Cumulative number of reported cases: 623,309 (as of December 14)
Rupiah to US$14,158
Jakarta Stock Exchange Index: 6012
Overview- Single Day Fatality Record
The Covid-19 virus continues its inexorable spread and daily deaths now stand at 140 on a week-to-week moving average, up from 86 a month ago. On Friday, December 11 Indonesia set a record for single day fatalities at 175. Cumulative cases topped 600,000. The outbreak has reached 510 of the country’s 514 regencies and cities and all its 34 provinces. Regional elections occurred on December 9; Indonesia does not have a mail-in ballot capability. Nevertheless, government officials closely monitored the voting to ensure health protocols were in place. The government reduced the number of days normally allotted for Xmas and New Year’s to prevent clustering of cases. Nevertheless, many will travel. The voting and end of year travel will likely raise transmission rates as occurred after Idul Fitri holidays in May.
1.2 million doses of “Coronavac” produced by China’s Sinovac arrived on December 5 and an additional 1.8 million does will arrive later this month along with materials to produce 12 million doses locally in January. Indonesia’s Food and Drug Oversight Agency (BPOM) will carry out quality control testing before the vaccines are released, but a timeline for this process hasn’t been released. Given that 2 doses are necessary the data suggests that approximately 19 million Indonesians will be vaccinated by the end of February, 7% of the population.
Travel- Bali a Priority
Reports indicate that Bali and Java will be given priority in the government’s vaccination program, in part due to the case numbers. If true, the program cannot come too soon to Bali, heavily dependent on tourist revenues. The national government announced it plans to reopen Bali as soon the COVID situation warrants it.
- Q4 Growth Prediction- According to Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, the country’s economy is expected to grow in the range of minus 2% to positive 0.6% in the fourth quarter of this year, The projected growth could be achieved if the momentum for recovery that began in the third quarter, when the economy showed a smaller contraction of 3.49% compared to 5.32% in the second quarter, is maintained.
- Forbes List of Powerful Women- The CEO of state-oil company Pertamina, Nicke Widowati ranked #25 on the list and Finance Minister Sri Mulyani #78.
- Sovereign Wealth Fund- Indonesia has brought its “pitch” recently to Japan, UAE, and Saudi Arabia.
- Trade Surplus- Indonesia posted another sizable trade surplus in November, albeit smaller than the previous month, as exports continued to recover while imports plunged, according to a Reuters poll. The country had recorded a US$17.07 billion surplus, as a recovery in China from the coronavirus-induced economic slump helped its exports rebound, while weak demand at home kept imports low.
- Enhancing Government Revenue- Besides the sovereign wealth fund, other attempts at raising sorely needed revenues include: 12.5% hike in cigarette excise taxes (hand-rolled are exempt). 5% of revenues are derived from the tax. The Finance Ministry has proposed a new bill on financial reporting that would enlarge the number of companies that must report on their activities. The bill could compel more companies to comply with their tax obligations.