Coronavirus Update #61 April 26, 2021
Cumulative number of reported cases 1,647,138 (as of April 26)
Fatality Rate: 2.72
Rupiah to US: 14,489
Jakarta Stock Exchange Index: 5965
Reserves (US$ Billions): $137.095
COVID variants are now appearing in every province.
Case detections rose 3% week-on-week and the bulk of cases are in Jakarta and West Java.
Indonesia could have a wave like India. A religious holiday such as the end of the Islamic fasting month (ending May 14) could bring crowds together. The government is aware of the parallel and has closed the border with India and will attempt to limit travel.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo spoke on the phone on Tuesday (04/20) with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, who told him that China would help Indonesia to build a regional vaccine production center while working to vaccinate its population. China and Indonesia both “attach great importance to the life safety and health of the people, and oppose ‘vaccine nationalism’,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement paraphrased Xi as saying.
Indonesia backed away from COVID-19 vaccine candidate Nusantara, backed by a former health minister. It is now approved only for research purposes after Indonesia’s food and drug agency (BPOM) ruled that a mid-stage trial for it could not proceed amid safety and data integrity issues.
Lost Submarine: One of Indonesia’s 5 submarines sank in deep waters off the coast of Bali. The sub was over 40 years old, although it had undergone renovations in South Korea in 2012. After losing contact with the sub last week a frantic search did not discover the vessels in time and on Sunday the Indonesian military confirmed that the sub had been located, cracked in three places, and all 53 crew members perished.
Indonesia has not yet opened access for visa-on-arrival and visa-free during the COVID-19 pandemic, except for foreigners with essential purposes such as businesses, works, or humanitarian reasons. Visit Indonesian Immigration (https://www.imigrasi.go.id) and the Indonesian Embassy (https://kemlu.go.id/washington/en) for updated visa and entry requirements as regulations may change frequently.
AICC can help secure business visas for traveling to Indonesia. Please contact our office at (212) 687-4505 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
· BI Adjusts its Outlook: Indonesia’s central bank, Bank Indonesia, left its benchmark interest rate unchanged, and cut its outlook for economic growth, as expanded mobility curbs limit consumption and foreign outflows pressure the currency. Bank Indonesia kept the seven-day reverse repurchase rate at a record low of 3.5% on Tuesday (04/20). The central bank also said it now forecasts gross domestic product to expand 4.1%-5.1% this year, down from 4.3%-5.3% previously.
· Digital Economy’s Potential: Indonesia’s digital economy has the potential to reach US$124 billion by 2025 according to a study by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati stated. “From US$44 billion (in 2020), it could increase to US$124 billion. This is tremendous potential. It means the (country’s) economic potential can be increased threefolds through digital infrastructure,” the minister remarked during an event titled “Women Driving the Economy in the Pandemic Period” on Friday (04/23).
· Prudent Budget Deficit: Indonesia ran a budget deficit of US$9.93B as of the end of March, or 0.82% of its GDP, as tax revenues shrank while spending rose to support economic recovery, the finance ministry said on Thursday (04/22). Total government spending increased by 15.6% year-on-year to US$36.1B, while total revenue rose by just 0.6% amid a 5.6% contraction in income from tax payments. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati described the recovery trend as “very convincing”, citing improving leading indicators in March and expected acceleration of economic growth in the second quarter.
· FDI Rebound in Q1: Foreign direct investment (FDI) into Indonesia rose 14% on year in the first three months of 2021 in rupiah terms, data from the country’s investment board BKPM showed on Monday. FDI totaled US$7.72B in the January-March period, BKPM said. Including domestic investment, the total direct investment in the first quarter amounted to US$15.17B, up 4.3% compared with the same period a year earlier.
Foreign Affairs-ASEAN Summit on Myanmar
ASEAN held a summit in Indonesia hosted by its chair Brunei with Myanmar’s military leader, Min Aung Hlaing during which it requested a commitment to refrain from violence, release political prisoners, and accept humanitarian relief. A response from Myanmar’s military chief was not reported.
Speaking after the meeting, Jokowi said the situation in Myanmar was unacceptable and must not continue. “Violence must be stopped. Democracy, stability and peace in Myanmar must return immediately. The interests of Myanmar’s people must always be a priority,” he said in a statement. He added that it was important for Min Aung and Myanmar’s military leadership to commit to several things, including stopping the military violence. “All parties must exercise restraint,” he said.
(sources: International and Indonesia news media, Bali Update (from balidiscovery.com), Reformasi Weekly, US Embassy website)