JAKARTA: Indonesia’s economy contracted for the fourth consecutive quarter in January-March, data showed Wednesday (May 5) as the country’s leaders struggle to weather a recession sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
The 0.74% year-on-year contraction was a marked improvement from 2.19% in the previous three months, but slightly worse than expected, with the tourism sector among the hardest hit sectors.
However, the Suhariyanto statistics office told reporters: “It is still negative, but it is much better compared to previous quarters, which shows that the trend of economic recovery is on the right track.”
On a quarterly basis, Southeast Asia’s largest economy contracted 0.96 percent.
Last year, the economy shrank 2.07% as it entered its first recession since 1999 during the Asian financial crisis.
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Millions of Indonesians were made redundant or made redundant as the country struggled under the weight of the pandemic and in April the central bank downgraded its growth outlook for this year to 4.1-5.1%, against a previous estimate of 4.8-5.3%. .
COVID-19 infections topped 1.6 million with more than 46,000 deaths, placing Indonesia among the worst-affected Asian countries.
The government unveiled more than $ 48 billion in stimulus measures to help offset the impact of the virus, which has forced the government to impose large-scale and economically painful containment restrictions.
And although it has launched its vaccination campaign, just over 20 million of the country’s 270 million people have so far received their first vaccine.
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Analysts have warned of government restrictions and the slow rollout of vaccines will hamper economic recovery efforts.
“The Indonesian economy struggled to gain momentum in the first quarter of the year and failure to contain the virus will delay the recovery in the quarters to come,” said Gareth Leather, senior economist for Asia from Capital Economics.
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