ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
2016 to remain sluggish for RI economy: Bahana
Two months from year-end, Indonesia’s economy is forecast to remain stuck in the doldrums next year, with the gross domestic product (GDP), the rupiah and state revenues lower than hoped for, according to securities house Bahana Securities.
As many major economic institutions including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) slash their growth predictions for Southeast Asia’s largest economy, the investment firm expects 5.1 percent GDP growth for 2016, lower than the government’s forecast of 5.5 percent in the draft 2016 state
“The outlook remains quite serious. […] We might even lower it to below 5 percent,” said Bahana’s head of research Harry Su during a recent visit to The Jakarta Post’s office.
The country saw 4.67 percent GDP growth in the second quarter this year, the slowest in nearly six years and slower than the recorded growth in the first quarter, which stood at 4.7 percent.
Meanwhile, Harry also expressed concern about the possibility of tax target shortfalls, which could be the biggest threat to Indonesia’s economy next year.
He predicted a shortfall in this year’s tax revenues of between Rp 250 trillion (US$18.49 billion) and Rp 400 trillion from the target of Rp 1.49 quadrillion, quite apart from the significant 26 percent increase in the tax target in the draft 2016 state budget, to Rp 1.56 quadrillion.
“That’s why we think that the target will not be achieved next year,” he said.
The government’s tax revenues slumped to a four-year low on the first half of this year, they are reported to amount to Rp 555.2 trillion, or only 37.3 percent of the targeted revenue, lower than the usual 42 percent to 44 percent in the same period in the last four years.
“The outlook remains quite serious. […] We might even lower it to below 5 percent.”
Harry added that the tax shortfall would lead to infrastructure development getting bogged down.
“As the government can’t control the external factors, all they can do is build infrastructure,” He said.
The government has allocated Rp 313.5 trillion for infrastructure spending in the draft 2016 state budget, higher than Rp 290 trillion this year.
However, the budget realization so far has been challenging, with one of the key ministries for infrastructure, the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry, only managing to spend less than 50 percent of its budget by Oct. 13.
He also said that the rupiah would further weaken next year, with the firm expecting the currency to stand at Rp 14,000 by the end of the year and Rp 14,500 next year. This is still higher than the analysts’ consensus of the rupiah ending at Rp 14,500 this year and continuing to weaken to Rp 14,700 next year.
The currency, which has depreciated by more than 8 percent to date, is still volatile with a lack of rupiah circulating in the market, according to Harry.
“The liquidity is very ‘dry’, so the movement of the rupiah against the dollar can be quite volatile,”
However, despite the bleak outlook, he stressed that the country was not in a crisis like 1998.
“Especially on the debt-to-GDP ratio. [In 1998], it stood at 150 percent, now it is just 33 percent. It’s much healthier,” he said, adding that the current corporate net gearing, which stood at 19 percent, should also keep the economy secure.
Meanwhile, the firm also predicted a level of 4,700 for the benchmark Jakarta Composite Index this year, increasing to 5,100 next year.
“Infrastructure development should be faster next year, so there will be support for the GDP,” he said, adding that the early tenders conducted by the ministry would also help to speed it up.
Regarding favorable sectors, he said that the firm was still heavy on defensives such as staple consumer goods and telecommunications with high earnings visibility next year.
“Because at the moment, the problem is the scarcity of growth,” he said.
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