As the first quarter of 2014 ended last week, it is interesting to take a quick look at which countries were the most popular and unpopular investment targets of international investors in terms of stock trading. Indonesia has been 'hot' so far in 2014, with both its benchmark stock index and the rupiah strengthening considerably. Not far after Indonesia come the indices of Vietnam and Portugal. But the winners of the first quarter were Dubai and Bulgary where the benchmark stock indices gained 32.3 percent and 22.2 percent respectively in Q1-2014.
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During most of the day, Indonesia's benchmark stock index (the Jakarta Composite Index or IHSG) moved in the green zone, seemingly unaffected by falling indices on Wall Street on Wednesday (26/03). However, just before the trading day closed market participants engaged in profit taking causing the 0.11 percent decline of the IHSG to 4,723.06 points. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for this occurrence. Perhaps because Asian indices turned mixed after China's benchmark index fell as China's latest industrial profit growth data were weak.
On Wednesday (26/03), most emerging Asian currencies appreciated against the US dollar as the region's shares hit a two-week high on upbeat US economic data in combination with reduced concern over the crisis in Crimea (Ukraine). However, the Indonesian rupiah exchange rate was one of the exceptions to this trend on today's trading day. Based on the Bloomberg Dollar Index, the rupiah had depreciated 0.16 percent to IDR 11,412 at 16:15 local Jakarta time. Meanwhile, the Chinese yuan recovered some of its earlier losses.
There were two options with regard to today's trading day (Monday 17 March 2014). First, the Jakarta Composite Index (Indonesia's benchmark stock index also known as IHSG) could rise further after its impressive 3.23 percent jump last Friday (14/03), and secondly, the bullish market could become vulnerable to profit taking as the 'Jokowi effect' tones down and no other factors could trigger positive market sentiments. It turned out to be the second option. Not even sharp rupiah appreciation could push the index in the green zone.
The Indonesian rupiah exchange rate continued its impressive rebound in 2014, supported by Indonesia's improving economic fundamentals as well as increased political certainty due to the nomination of Joko Widodo (Jokowi) as the main opposition party's (PDI-P) presidential candidate. As such, the 'Jokowi effect' managed to offset negative market sentiments brought on by the (disputed) referendum in Crimea that showed that 97 percent of voters support a split from Ukraine. This intensified political tensions between the West and Russia.
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