Adrian Wail Akhlas, Jakarta – Indonesian stocks hit circuit breakers for the third time in the past week on Tuesday, touching levels unseen since 2015 as the rupiah surpassed the psychological threshold of Rp 15,000 to the United States dollar in the ongoing coronavirus-driven global market rout.
The Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), the main gauge of the Indonesian Stock Exchange (IDX), tumbled 5 percent to touch a nearly five-year low of 4,456.10 at 3:02 p.m. as foreign investors dumped a net Rp 1.01 trillion (US$66.9 million). The fall triggered a 30-minute trading halt as stipulated by a new IDX regulation issued on March 11 to mitigate the ongoing market rout.
"Trading will reopen at 3:32 p.m. without a change in the trading schedule," the IDX announced following the temporary trading suspension. Upon reopening, the stock index continued drop to close at 4,448.98, a 5.1 percent slump for the day and the lowest the index has been since October 2015.
Foreign investors dumped blue chip stocks such as PT Bank Central Asia (BBCA), PT Bank Mandiri (BMRI), PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BBRI), PT Bank Negara Indonesia (BBNI) and PT Unilever Indonesia (UNVR) which respectively lost 6.99 percent, 6.75 percent, 6.86 percent, 6.82 percent and 6.81 percent.
Three hundred and sixty four stocks ended the session in the red, with several companies triggering the exchange's auto-rejection limit of a 7 percent decline in price, as stipulated by a new IDX regulation announced on Thursday.
The rupiah surpassed the psychological threshold of Rp 15,000 to the US dollar on Tuesday as investors dumped Indonesian assets – both stocks and bonds – amid investors' fears of the COVID-19 pandemic, which now has more fatalities outside China, where the virus is believed to have originated, than inside it.
The currency depreciated 1.5 percent to Rp 15,172 against the greenback at 4 p.m. in Jakarta, touching a level unseen since October 2018, according to Bloomberg data. This represents a 10 percent depreciation from the Jan. 24 rate of Rp 13,583 to the US dollar. The Bank Indonesia (BI) Jakarta Interspot Dollar Rate (JISDOR) stood at Rp 15,083 to the dollar on Tuesday.
"Market conditions are highly volatile, and there is still great potential for the index to continue weakening," Artha Sekuritas analyst Dennies Christopher said. He said he was not advising investors to buy stocks during the continuing market rout.
Bahana TCW Investment Management, meanwhile, considers this "the moment of truth" for investors who are in the market for the long term.
"With all of the matrices, stocks can be assured to be cheap. This can be the moment of truth for investors who have the guts to take a position and profit in the long run," Bahana TCW head of macroeconomics and director for investment strategy Budi Hikmat said in a note.
The decline in the local stock market followed a historic market rout in the United States and mixed readings from Asian markets.
Wall Street suffered its biggest drop since the crash of 1987 on Monday following unprecedented steps taken by the Federal Reserve, United States lawmakers and the White House to slow the spread and soften the economic blow of the coronavirus. The Fed cut rates to a target range of zero to 0.25 percent and said it would expand its balance sheet by at least $700 billion in the coming weeks. The steps failed to restore order to markets.
The investor panic triggered another circuit breaker in Wall Street's three main stock indexes for 15 minutes shortly after the open as the S&P 500 index fell 8 percent, Reuters reported.
By Tuesday's close, Tokyo was up 0.06 percent, Hong Kong had gained 0.87 percent, Singapore had slipped 1.64 percent and Shanghai had lost 0.34 percent.