Indonesia’s economic growth accelerated in the final quarter of last year following the easing of anti-virus mobility restrictions and record-high exports, driven by stronger commodity prices.
Southeast Asia’s largest economy grew 5.02 percent on a yearly basis in the October-December quarter, compared with 3.51 percent growth in the previous quarter, data from Statistics Indonesia showed on Monday. A Reuters news agency poll had expected fourth-quarter growth of 4.90 percent.
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For the whole of 2021, gross domestic product expanded 3.69 percent annually, compared with a 2.07 percent contraction the year before, as the country recovered from the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the outlook for this year is clouded by rising COVID-19 cases, potential financial market volatility due to a global monetary tightening and Indonesia’s own rollback of monetary and fiscal stimulus.
“Because our COVID cases were high in the third quarter, people’s mobility was restricted and economic activity slowed down … all activities, by the government and the private sector, resumed in the fourth quarter,” said Margo Yuwono, head of Statistics Indonesia.
Yuwono also noted that high prices of Indonesia’s main commodities, such as palm oil, coal and nickel, had driven exports in the October-December quarter.
Indonesia was hit by a deadly wave of COVID-19 cases in July-August, but mobility curbs eased towards the end of August as infections fell.
COVID-19 cases are currently rising again in Indonesia due to the spread of the Omicron variant, with Sunday’s 36,057 new cases the highest since August. However, authorities have not reimposed strict anti-virus measures.