JAKARTA, Nov 5 (AFP) — Indonesia’s economy expanded again in the third quarter, official data showed Friday, thanks to a pick-up in exports but the rate slowed from the previous three months as the pandemic continued to take its toll.
Southeast Asia’s biggest economy grew 3.51 percent on-year in July-September, the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) said, though that was well short of the previous three months’ 7.07 percent jump, which was the fastest pace in nearly two decades.
While mineral-rich Indonesia’s overseas shipments rose sharply, the hotel and transport sectors were among the worst hit, said BPS head Margo Yuwono, as national airline Garuda teeters on the edge of bankruptcy.
“Transportation was the most-affected sector because of declining mobility,” he told a press briefing.
But Yuwono pointed to better times ahead as more people get vaccinated and comply with health restrictions.
The latest figures come as the vast country of 270 million loosens Covid-19 restrictions, including in Jakarta, after daily cases and deaths dropped steadily from record highs in June.
Indonesia has reported 4.2 million cases and more than 143,000 deaths from the disease though official figures are widely believed to be an underestimate.
The country has never implemented a full lockdown but introduced restrictions in early July limiting travel and non-essential business activity.
Last year the economy shrunk 2.07 percent, marking its first recession since the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
The central bank in July cut its 2021 growth forecast to 3.5-4.3 percent because of spiking infections, from its previous estimate of 4.1-5.1 percent.