Sábado, 27 May, 2017

Standard & Poor's raises Indonesia credit rating

A city bus crew member stands next to his vehicle as he is illuminated red by the tail lights of other vehicles in rush hour traffic in Jakarta Indonesia Friday Indonesia's credit rating raised to investment grade by S&P
Montez Delgado | 20 May, 2017, 00:40

Indonesian officials told S&P officials who visited Jakarta earlier this year that the credit rating agency was already late making an upgrade.

Standard & Poor's raised Indonesia's sovereign credit rating to investment grade Friday, in line with the other two major rating agencies, in a move likely to attract more investment into Southeast Asia's top economy. A rating upgrade usually also means an economy can get cheaper borrowing costs when it issues bonds.

The sovereign rating was lifted to BBB- from BB+ with a stable outlook and improvement in state's development budget.

The Jakarta Composite Index jumped as much as 3.2 percent to a record 5,825.2, extending gains this year to nearly 10 percent. The rupiah also rallied against the dollar.

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"Winning the investment grade title allows Indonesia access to a wider investor base".

S&P said the upgrade reflected its assessment of reduced risks to the country's fiscal position.

"The government's new focus on realistic budgeting has lowered the risks that budget deficits will widen significantly when government revenue disappoints", S&P said.

Indonesia is trying to lure investors for a $450 billion infrastructure drive to revive economic growth.

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S&P had previously cited a host of concerns, such as a failure to implement much-needed policies to help the economy, for their reluctance in giving Indonesia an investment grade rating. It gave Indonesia a positive outlook in May 2015 for President Joko Widodo's bold move to remove gasoline subsidies.

Since then, Widodo reshuffled his cabinet and appointed respected reformist, former managing director of the World Bank, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, as his finance minister.

She then ran a tax amnesty program that many said was the world's most successful and is now overseeing a plan to overhaul the taxation system.

"From a macro stance, the S&P upgrade is positive as this will further reduce the country's cost of funds which is relatively expensive vs its peers in the region", said Bharat Joshi, investment director at Aberdeen Asset Management in Jakarta. The central bank will seek to maintain stability "to support the continuation of structural reforms taken by the government and the development of a sustainable and inclusive economic growth", Governor Agus Martowardojo said in a statement.

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In recent quarters, Indonesia has had annual growth of 5 percent or less.

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