Mostly declining Asian stock indices, led by Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index (HSI) and the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite, had a negative influence on the performance of Indonesia's benchmark stock index (known as the Jakarta Composite Index or IHSG) on Wednesday (23/04). Moreover, today's sharp rupiah depreciation contributed to the 0.10 percent decline to 4,893.15 points. Based on the Bloomberg Dollar Index, the Indonesian rupiah exchange rate depreciated 0.94 percent to 11,630 per US dollar.
The rupiah continued to depreciate sharply as market participants remained concerned about the result of the 2014 legislative election (held on 9 April 2014) which failed to result in a huge victory for the current main opposition party PDI-P. This party was expected to secure an impressive win as it announced to nominate highly popular Jakarta Governor Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo as its candidate for the presidential election which is scheduled for 9 July 2014. Prior to the election, the market and analysts seemed certain about a massive win for the PDI-P due to the 'Jokowi-effect'.
Secondly, there emerged renewed concern about Indonesia's current account deficit after the Governor of Indonesia's central bank, Agus Martowardojo, said that the deficit probably increased in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the deficit recorded in the previous quarter (1.98 percent of GDP).
Almost all Asian stock indices were down on Wednesday - except for Japan's Nikkei and Australia's ASX - due to preliminary Chinese manufacturing data which indicated that the world's second largest economy's manufacturing sector is still experiencing a contraction. This triggers ongoing concerns about the country's slowing economy as well as the government's ability to put economic growth back on track.
The Nikkei and ASX were today's notable exceptions. The ASX was supported by Australia's inflation which rose less than expected in the first quarter of 2014 (2.9 percent year-on-year). Meanwhile, the Nikkei was up as investors responded positively to US company's financial figures over the first quarter of 2014.