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Indonesia is the world’s 16th-largest economy and presents an enticing opportunity for investors, with ongoing reform efforts and attractive demographics. Meanwhile, a booming start-up ecosystem signals the country’s rising consumer power and regional influence. While headwinds are expected to follow Covid-19, Indonesia’s strong foundations will help maintain momentum in the medium to long term.
– Thailand and Malaysia led the region in terms of government stimulus
– Key digital solutions were developed in food delivery, education, health care and finance
– Despite falling globally, M&A increased in Asia throughout the year
– Emerging markets in ASEAN stand to benefit from the supply chain shift away from China
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was finally signed on Sunday November 15, on the sidelines of the annual summit of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). As well as marking a significant regional milestone, it is hoped that this deal will help its 15 signatories recover from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
Indonesia’s Omnibus Bill on Job Creation became law in October, with the government set to complete its implementation by the end of the year. While it has proved controversial in some quarters, many business leaders have welcomed this development, not least for its potential to help the economy offset the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic and its related economic effects prompted a slowdown in initial public offerings (IPOs) in South-east Asia, as it did globally. However, there are indications that the region is set to see listing activity bounce back in the coming months.
To assist the government’s financial response to the coronavirus pandemic, Indonesia’s central bank is set to purchase $40bn in sovereign bonds as part of a debt monetisation programme – a strategy seldom used by emerging markets that could have wider implications for the region.
At the start of 2020, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – potentially the world’s largest free trade deal – seemed on track to be signed by the end of the year. However, the coronavirus pandemic has slowed that process, raising some questions about when the agreement will be formalised.
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