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Jakarta Post

Indonesian stocks hit circuit breaker again as dollar nears Rp 16,000

  • Riska Rahman and Prima Wirayani

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, March 19, 2020   /   10:57 am
Indonesian stocks hit circuit breaker again as dollar nears Rp 16,000 Workers repair a sign at the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) building in Jakarta on Feb. 12. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

Indonesian stocks hit yet another circuit breaker on Thursday morning, prompting the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) to halt trading for 30 minutes for the fourth time in a week.

The main gauge, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), nosedived 5.01 percent a mere 37 minutes after it opened at 9 a.m. in Jakarta to 4,113.65, a level unseen since August 2012.

“Trading at the IDX officially halted at 9.37 a.m. and will reopen at 10.07 a.m.,” IDX trading director Laksono Widodo told the press on Thursday, adding that transactions before the market closed totaled Rp 1.22 trillion (US$75 million).

Foreign investors dumped Rp 461 billion in stocks more than they bought on Thursday morning.

Read also: Rupiah at weakest since 1998 crisis as foreign investors pull out amid virus fears

The rupiah continued its deep depreciation and reached Rp 15,712 per US dollar, according to the Bank Indonesia Jakarta Interspot Dollar Rate (JISDOR). The last time it touched that level was in June 1998 when it reach reached Rp 16,650 after widespread rioting that led to the downfall of president Soeharto, who led Indonesia for 32 years.

“Global investors are still panicking over the spread of the coronavirus and their main concerns is not the virus but its economic impacts, which are still difficult to predict at this time,” said Sucor Sekuritas client coverage head Jason Gozali on Thursday.

During the 1998 and 2008 crises, he went on to say, the JCI plunged 50 percent from its recent peak within five to six months. But now, the index has plunged around 35 percent from its recent high in just two weeks.

“The panic is shown in the corrections happening in all global capital markets, not just in Indonesia,” he added.

Tokyo dropped 0.74 percent, Shanghai fell 1.73 percent, Hong Kong fell 3.74 percent and Singapore plunged almost 4 percent on Thursday morning.

Indonesia had reported 227 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 19 dead as of Wednesday, one of the highest death tolls in Southeast Asia.

The JCI has lost almost 35 percent of its value since the beginning of the year, slashing its market capitalization to Rp 4.78 quadrillion from more than Rp 7 quadrillion last year.

Read also: Indonesia to reallocate $1.8b budget for health care, cash transfers: Sri Mulyani

Privately owned PT Bank Central Asia — traded under the ticker symbol BBCA — led Thursday morning's decline, as its share prices plummeted 7 percent, hitting the lower limit of price decline set by the bourse last week. The continued decline in the past few weeks has also caused the company to lose almost 30 percent of its market value so far this year.

Logistics firm PT Putra Rajawali Kencana (PURA) and food manufacturing giant PT Indofood Sukses Makmur (INDF) also hit the price drop limit, with their shares tumbling 7 percent during morning trading.

“In addition to a slowdown in infections, economic growth and corporate financial reports for the first quarter will be the key, as they will help investors estimate the economic impacts of the coronavirus,” Jason said.

“If the impacts are not as bad as projected, it will restore investors' rationality.”