Foreign debt rises on account of strengthening rupiah
The strengthening rupiah in November led to an increase in Indonesias external debt, Bank Indonesia data has revealed. Meanwhile, the private sector also banked on the favorable borrowing conditions to seek funding from overseas, analysts have said. Indonesias external debt position, a sum of foreign-denominated borrowing by the government and the private sector, was recorded at US$379.2 billion in November, $12.3 billion more than the position in the previous month. The figure also meant that external debt was growing 7 percent year-on-year (yoy), above the 5.3 percent yoy growth posted in the previous month and also brought Indonesias debt-to-GDP ratio to 34 percent, a level BI considered safe as it was still lower than the ratio of peer countries. The central bank said in a statement issued recently that the increase of Indonesias outstanding foreign debt was due to the increase in net debt, while the rupiahs appreciation in November also contributed to the increase of foreign debt value. Government debt, which also takes into account the amount borrowed by the central bank, grew 4.4 percent yoy to $180.5 billion thanks to inflows of foreign capital into the government’s debt papers (SBN). Economic observer at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Institute Eric Sugandi said the rise in Indonesias external debt despite the strengthening rupiah was a logical consequence of the relatively high number of foreign bondholders, who held the rupiah-denominated SBN. The private sectors borrowing, which includes the debt of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), was recorded at $189.3 billion, growing 10.1 percent yoy in November, driven by a net buy of corporate bonds by foreign investors. Foreign debt in the private sector in November was largely concentrated in four sectors -- financial and insurance services, manufacturing, electricity, gas and steam procurement and mining. The four sectors account for a 73.9 percent share of the overall private sector debt. Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) economist Bhima Yudhistira Adhinegara said the private sectors accelerated foreign debt growth was caused by its need for refinancing matured debt and preparing funds for operations in early 2019. The strengthening of the rupiah in November could also influence the private sector to seek funds from abroad, Bhima said, out of concern that it could weaken in the future. Source: The Jakarta Post Jan 19, 2019
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