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GDP seen down 5.8 pct for next year

Reuters - December 10, 1998 (slightly abridged)

Jakarta – Indonesia's economy is likely to contract about 14.8 percent in 1998 from the previous full year and by a further 5.8 percent in 1999, according to a Reuters poll of analysts from 12 leading brokerages and banks in Jakarta.

The contraction in the economy, rocked by civil strife and financial crisis in 1998, was expected to ease in 1999 due to a firming rupiah and falling inflation and interest rates.

"We are upgrading our forecast both for this year and next year due partly to the rupiah," said Joshua Tanja, head of research with Paribas Asia Equity.

No analyst forecast higher gross domestic product in 1999, partly due to concerns about political instability with a national election scheduled for June and a presidential election a few months later.

The government's Central Bureau of Statistics said recently Indonesia's GDP would show a 13.7 percent fall in 1998. It has announced no forecast for 1999. The bureau said GDP for the first nine months of the year had been down 13.59 percent on a year earlier.