Mixed Opinions about Indonesia's Credit Growth in 2018
Indonesia's central bank (Bank Indonesia) is optimistic that credit growth will accelerate in Indonesia in 2018. The lender of last resort set its credit growth forecast for 2018 at the range of 12-14 percent year-on-year (y/y), up from its 10-12 percent (y/y) growth forecast for 2017, on the back of accelerating economic growth. The Indonesian government proposes economic growth at 5.4 percent (y/y) in 2018 (possibly a too ambitious target).
However, the Financial Services Authority (in Indonesian: Otoritas Jasa Keuangan, or OJK) is less optimistic and basically sees stagnant credit growth in 2018. The OJK, which regulates and supervises Indonesia's financial services sector, put its forecast at the range of 11-12 percent (y/y) in 2018, while for 2017 its credit growth outlook is set at 11.7 percent (y/y).
Although the central government proposes a 5.4 percent (y/y) economic growth rate for 2018, most analysts agree that this target is too ambitious.
Perry Warjiyo, Deputy Governor at Bank Indonesia, said accelerating credit growth in 2018 is primarily expected to be supported by rising working capital loans and investment loans. Moreover, an expected reduction in bad debt (amid expectations of accelerated economic growth and higher commodity prices) will cause a boost in credit growth, Warjiyo added.
Low interest rates should also cause appetite for credit next year. Bank Indonesia has kept its benchmark interest rate at 4.75 percent since October 2016 after previously cutting the benchmark six times, by a total of 1.5 percentage points. Bank Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardojo recently said Bank Indonesia may resume easing monetary policy as early as its August 2017 two-day board meeting in an effort to boost economic growth that came at a disappointing 5.01 percent (y/y) in the second quarter of 2017. Considering Indonesian inflation is low (3.88 percent y/y in July) and the rupiah stable against the US dollar, there seems to be some more room for monetary easing.
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