Adrian Wail Akhlas, Jakarta – Indonesia's stocks dropped sharply at Thursday's opening as anxious investors left markets across the world, poised for another day of tumultuous trading after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced coronavirus (COVID-19) a new pandemic.
The Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), the main gauge of the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX), tumbled 4.2 percent to 4,937 when Thursday's session was opened, a level unseen in almost four years, bringing the year-to-date (ytd) decline of the index to 21.6 percent.
The decline continued a volatile week that saw the benchmark index plunge 6.58 percent Monday only to recover 1.6 percent on Tuesday but drop again by 1.28 percent on Wednesday's closing to 5,154.10 points.
"Emotional factors still dominate for the time being," CSA Institute analyst Aria Santoso said on Feb. 29 just as the stock market began volatile movement. "The government's stimulus program takes time for investors to comprehend as worries and panic would continue to cloud over the market and investors do not think logically."
The bourse will halt stock trading for 30 minutes if the main gauge falls more than 5 percent. If the index falls more than 10 percent after the first suspension is lifted, the bourse will halt trading for another 30 minutes, according to a new IDX policy issued on Tuesday in light of the market rout.
Trading will be stopped for the whole session if the JCI continues to plunge deeper than 15 percent. The suspension can last for more than one day with approval or upon instruction from the Financial Services Authority (OJK).
The steep decline was in line with Asian markets. Japan's Nikkei dropped 5 percent, Singapore's Straits Times Index fell 3.86 percent and the Hong Kong Stock Index slipped 3.71 percent as per 9:17 a.m. Jakarta time.
More than 120,000 people have contracted COVID-19 around the globe as of Thursday morning with more than 4,300 deaths. The government announced Wednesday that at least 34 individuals had tested positive for COVID-19 in Indonesia.