Indonesia economy sees weakest growth in almost two decades

JAKARTA (AFP) – Indonesia’s economy grew in the first quarter at its slowest pace for almost two decades, and economists warned yesterday the coronavirus crisis would likely deal an even greater blow in the next three months.

The news comes as governments around the world struggle to contain the deadly disease, which has essentially shut down the global economy, which is expected to fall into recession this year.

Southeast Asia’s biggest economy grew 2.97 per cent in January-February, the worst rate since 2001 and well short of the 5.07 per cent in the same period last year. It also missed forecasts of four per cent expansion, while marking a contraction of 2.41 per cent from the previous quarter.

Statistics agency chairman Suhariyanto, who goes by one name, said in a virtual news conference: “No countries are immune to the COVID-19. Whether developed or developing countries, they were hit badly by the virus and Indonesia is no exception.”

The statistics agency pointed to a severe hit to the key tourism sector, saying only 2.6 million visitors went to Indonesia in the three months, down a third on-year.