Update COVID-19 in Indonesia: 1,298,608 confirmed infections, 35,014 deaths (23 February 2021)
23 February 2021 (closed)
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Bambang Brodjonegoro, Indonesian Minister of National Development Planning (Bappenas) and former Finance Minister, is confident that the recent sovereign credit ratings upgrade by Standard & Poor's (S&P) will unlock up to USD $200 billion in potential foreign capital inflows into portfolio investment, primarily into Indonesia's government and corporate bonds as well as stocks. Another advantage is that nations with investment grade ratings enjoy cheaper borrowing costs.
In mid-May 2017 S&P announced it had lifted Indonesia's sovereign rating from BB+ to BBB- (with a stable outlook), citing an improvement in Indonesia's government budget and reduced risks to Indonesia’s fiscal metrics. After this upgrade, Indonesia now has investment grade status from all key three credit rating agencies.
Years earlier, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings had already granted investment grade status to Indonesia. However, S&P, known as the most conservative among the credit rating agencies, waited a long time due to concerns over weak government revenue collection. Weak government revenue collection is primarily caused by weak tax revenue in Southeast Asia's largest economy. It is assumed Indonesia's recently completed tax amnesty program also contributed to convince S&P about Indonesia's improving fiscal fundamentals.
At the Nomura Investment Forum in Singapore, Brodjonegoro said he was often asked - during his days as Indonesian finance minister (2014-2016) - when Indonesia would obtain the investment grade status from S&P, a sign that many investors were waiting for this upgrade before deciding to invest in Indonesia. Typically, big conservative institutional investors are only allowed to invest in economies that have obtained investment grade status from all three key credit rating agencies. Brodjonegoro particularly sees room for rising capital inflows from Japan and the Middle East into Indonesia.