Indonesia Corona Virus Update #30 September 21, 2020
Cumulative number of reported cases: 248,852 (as of September 21)
Rupiah to US$14,723
Jakarta Stock Exchange Index: 4999
Overview-Cases Numbers Continue to Rise
Last Saturday Indonesia registered a record high of 4,168 new COVID-19 cases. This is the second time the 4,000 benchmark has been passed. Daily death tolls have exceeded 100 for the past 8 days and total cases continue to rise 10% per week.
Indonesia now has the second-highest number of recorded COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia after the Philippines has the highest, with 283,460.
The government has ordered the military and police to enforce health protocols (masks, social distancing). A senior official, Coordinating Maritime Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, said that the “critical time” was September-December, after which he expects a vaccine to be widely available.
Indonesia currently has the 23rd-highest number of cases of any country in the world. Its primary Jakarta isolation facility, Wisma Atlet, is being expanded. Although the populous provinces/regions of East Java, Central Java, and Jakarta are receiving the most cases, Riau and Aceh are surging the fastest with over 100% increases since the beginning of September.
Jakarta’s new rules expire September 28: outside of the 11 sectors deemed essential (healthcare, food, energy, telecom, finance, logistics, hotels, construction, etc.) other offices and businesses may continue to operate, provided that only 25 percent of their usual staff are on the premises. Malls may also remain open, although only certain shops within the mall may operate, namely: those providing essential services such as pharmacies, supermarkets and convenience stores. And unlike the PSBB status that applied in April and May, there is no requirement for a travel permit (SIKM) to exit and re-enter the city. Public reporting indicates that Jakarta’s Governor backed away from a fuller lockdown to accommodate economic interests.
After reopening Bali for only domestic tourists COVID cases have increased. Now the government has been forced to backtrack and authorities will impose stricter screening measures. Traffic in Jakarta is estimated to be down 20% since the return of a partial lockdown.
- ADB Predicts Regional Contraction: The President of the Asian Development Bank, Masatsugu Asakawa said: “We estimate that the economic losses from the pandemic could be as high as 8.25 percent of regional GDP in developing Asia,” which would mark the first regional contraction in 60 years. The ADB expects the Indonesian economy to shrink by 1 percent in 2020, a revision down from the ADB’s previous projection of 2.5 percent growth and one largely in line with the government’s prediction.
- Finance Minister Comments on Recovery: Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said that the country’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will depend on the fiscal stimulus package and on economic reforms brought about by the omnibus bills. “We want to make sure that the economy recovers by combining fiscal support with reforms to the investment climate,” Sri Mulyani said at an online seminar hosted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). “The omnibus bill on job creation will overhaul Indonesia’s investment policy to attract investment and build confidence.”
- US-Indonesia Infrastructure Agreement: Indonesia has signed an agreement with the United States to strengthen infrastructure financing through private sector investment. U.S Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin signed the agreement with Indonesia’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati remotely on Friday (9/19). Rahayu Puspasari, spokeswoman for Indonesia’s Finance Ministry, said in a separate statement that the agreement would bolster the development of capital markets and financial instruments to “facilitate and reduce the barriers to private sector investment in infrastructure.”
- Finance Omnibus Bill: Indonesia is formulating an additional omnibus bill to develop and strengthen the country’s financial industry, said the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Agency head, Febrio Kacaribu, as reported by Reuters. The bill is expected to shape the financial industry “to be more adaptive and responsive to vast developments in technology and business practices”.
- Fish Exports and COVID: Indonesia has suspended exports from Indonesian seafood company PT Putri Indah into China after its frozen fish products tested positive for the coronavirus, the country’s fisheries ministry said in a statement on Saturday.