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Indonesia's richest get US$9b hit on commodity, currency doldrums: Forbes

[JAKARTA] Indonesia's richest tycoons have seen their wealth drop by US$9 billion this year due to a continued fall in commodity prices and weaker currency, according to a Forbes list released on Thursday.

The collective wealth of Indonesia's top 50 richest fell 9 per cent to US$92 billion from a year earlier, the business magazine said. Six tycoons lost their billionaire status, including Edwin Soeryadjaya and Sukanto Tanoto.

Soeryadjaya owns a stake in PT Saratoga Investama Sedaya Tbk , which has interests in commodities such as coal and oil and whose stock has dropped 26 per cent so far this year. Tanoto owns Asian Agri, one of Indonesia's biggest palm oil producers.

Southeast Asia's biggest economy grew slightly faster in the third quarter thanks to higher government spending, but not enough to show a real turnaround has started. The rupiah has slid around 10 per cent this year, making it Asia's second-worst performing emerging market currency. "It was a challenging year for the Indonesian economy, and the declines across the board of the wealthiest in the country reflected that reality," Forbes said in a statement.

Despite the decline in overall wealth, Indonesia's tobacco tycoons remained at the top of the rich list. Budi and Michael Hartono, who control cigarette maker Djarum Group, were the wealthiest with a net worth of US$15.4 billion, while Susilo Wonowidjojo of PT Gudang Garam Tbk was on no. 2 with US$5.5 billion.

Third on the list was Anthoni Salim of the Salim Group, which has assets including instant noodle maker PT Indofood Sukses Makmur Tbk.