The Jakarta Post
Indonesia’s economic growth may drop to 4.5- 4.9 percent in the first quarter, with potential to further plunge in the second quarter, amid weakening economic activities driven by the spread of the novel coronavirus, the finance minister says.
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said Wednesday that the economy had grown at a range of 4.9 percent until the second week of March, a level unseen since 2016, further lowering from 4.97 percent in the fourth quarter. The last two weeks of March could further drag down gross domestic product (GDP) growth as people limit mobility and travel to slow the spread of COVID-19, she added.
“The COVID-19 impact on the economy is significant so we will not underestimate this situation,” Sri Mulyani told reporters via a video conference. “Meanwhile, growth in the second quarter will be pressured significantly by COVID-19.”
Sri Mulyani said the ministry would be careful in assessing the full-year economic growth projection, adding that the country must handle the situation well to have “reasonable hope” for the next quarter.
“If we can handle the situation by limiting the virus spread and making the public more disciplined then we could have reasonable hope in the second quarter,” Sri Mulyani warned.
Indonesia has announced 227 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 19 deaths, as of Wednesday. Globally, the pneumonia-like illness has infected nearly 200,000 people and taken at least 7,900 lives, with more cases reported outside China, where the virus was believed to have originated.
The pandemic has triggered lockdowns in several countries, including China, Italy and Malaysia. It has halted business activity and disrupted the global supply chain, triggering concerns of slowing economic growth.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has downgraded its global growth forecasts, estimating that global GDP will stand at 2.4 percent this year, a 0.5 percentage point cut from an earlier forecast in November.
The OECD expects Indonesia’s economy to grow 4.8 percent in 2020, a 0.2 percentage point cut from its initial projection in November. The country’s GDP grew 5.02 percent in 2019, the lowest level in four years, as exports and investment cooled.