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Investors will regret dumping Indonesia's bonds, Manulife says

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Investors who unloaded Indonesian government bonds in this year's longest stretch of outflows may come to regret doing so, said PT Manulife Aset Manajemen Indonesia, which expects the debt to remain Asia's best as the nation's economic strength outweighs the impact of higher US interest rates.

[JAKARTA] Investors who unloaded Indonesian government bonds in this year's longest stretch of outflows may come to regret doing so, said PT Manulife Aset Manajemen Indonesia, which expects the debt to remain Asia's best as the nation's economic strength outweighs the impact of higher US interest rates.

Overseas investors pulled 5.5 trillion rupiah (S$556.6 million) from Indonesian debt in the four days through Tuesday, pushing the 10-year yield to the highest in more than two months. The rupiah fell 2.2 per cent during the period as Federal Reserve officials indicated a rate hike may happen as early as June.

"The recent weakness in the Indonesian government bond market was part of an overall negative sentiment toward emerging markets," said Ezra Nazula, head of fixed income at PT Manulife Aset Manajemen Indonesia in Jakarta.

"We do see this as temporary. Almost all domestic macro data is still quite constructive."

The yield on 10-year rupiah notes fell to 7.89 per cent on Thursday after touching 7.96 per cent two days earlier, the highest since early March, according to the Inter Dealer Market Association. The rupiah rose 0.4 per cent to 13,605 per dollar as of 12:51 pm in Jakarta, prices from local banks show.

Global funds own 38 per cent of Indonesian government bonds, compared with 33 per cent for Malaysian securities and 14 per cent for Thai notes, official data show.

Indonesian debt generated a 10 per cent return this year through Wednesday, the most among emerging Asian markets, according to Bloomberg Bond Indexes.

Analysts see South-east Asia's biggest economy rebounding from the slowest annual growth in six years as the government accelerates infrastructure spending and commodity prices stabilise.

Bank Indonesia may loosen monetary policy next month if the global macroeconomic condition remains stable, governor Agus Martowardojo told reporters in Jakarta on Wednesday.

BLOOMBERG