Amid mixed Asian stock markets, Indonesia's benchmark Jakarta Composite Index (IHSG) surged a whopping 1.67 percent on Thursday (18/08), one day after Indonesian markets were closed for Independence Day celebrations. Investors' risk appetite improved markedly after the Federal Reserves' July minutes signaled that it will still take a while before the US central bank is ready to implement another interest rate hike. Meanwhile, the Indonesian government proposed a realistic 2017 State Budget to the nation's House of Representatives.
It became clear from reading the Federal Reserve's July policy meeting minutes that the Fed is in no hurry to raise its key interest rate. In fact, more and more investors and analysts now believe a September 2016 rate hike is off the table. With expectation of a longer delay in US monetary tightening investors thus turn to the higher yielding, yet riskier, emerging market assets.
Meanwhile, a worldwide drop in US dollar demand causes basically all global currencies to strengthen against the US dollar. The biggest victim of a weaker US dollar is Japan's Nikkei Index as Japan's export-oriented shares become less attractive (due to the stronger yen). Moreover, Japan was plagued today by the release of weak trade data. Japan's exports fell 14 percent (y/y), while the nation's imports plunged 25 percent (y/y), signalling persistent weak domestic demand. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index plunged 1.55 percent today.
Indonesia's benchmark stock index rose 1.67 percent to 5,461.45 points on Thursday (18/08), the highest close since April 2015 and outperforming all other Asian markets on today's trading day. Basically all of Indonesia's blue chip stocks (foreign investors' favorite picks) performed remarkably well.
Indonesian assets were also supported by a realistic 2017 State Budget draft proposal that was sent by the Indonesian government to the country's House of Representatives (DPR) earlier this week. In previous years the central government set overly ambitious (read: highly unrealistic) tax revenue targets (while the economic slowdown and low commodity prices made strong tax revenue growth basically impossible). The realistic draft enhances Indonesia's fiscal credibility.