Riska Rahman and Prima Wirayani, Jakarta – The Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) nosedived to a level unseen since March 2017 on Thursday afternoon amid fears over the spread of COVID-19, extending losses recorded by Asian stocks.
The main gauge of the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) plunged 2.63 percent to 5,539.38 before lunch break. The figure was the lowest since March 10, 2017 when the index stood at 5,390, Bloomberg data showed.
"Market players now are still responding to the novel coronavirus outbreak, which is spreading faster," Pilarmas Investindo Sekuritas researchers wrote in a note.
IDX trading director Laksono Widodo told The Jakarta Post that the bourse would continue trading after lunch break despite the sharp drop. "We'll monitor the situation closely," he said over text message. "We've prepared a crisis protocol if it falls 5 percent."
The steep decline was in line with Asian markets. Japan's Nikkei dropped more than 2 percent, South Korea's Kospi fell almost 1 percent, the Hong Kong Stock Index slipped 0.84 percent while Shanghai's index managed to gained 0.41 percent as of Thursday afternoon.
"The rising infection cases beyond Chinese shores has certainly raised the pandemic risk," said Desh Peramunetilleke, head of microstrategy at Jefferies in Hong Kong, as quoted by Reuters. "The current earnings estimates do not yet factor in such risk and are therefore vulnerable to further downgrades."
More than 82,000 people have contracted COVID-19 around the globe as of Thursday afternoon with 2,801 deaths, mostly in China, the world's second-largest economy.