Jakarta. Indonesia has seen $7.9 billion of foreign funds fly out of the country's financial market so far this year – one of the worst capital outflows the country has ever seen – as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to stoke fears in investors' mind.
Perry Warjiyo, the governor of Bank Indonesia, the country's central bank, said the flow of foreign capital out of Indonesia this year had exceeded Rp 125 trillion ($7.9 billion), as foreign investors sold holdings in government bonds worth Rp 112 trillion and in stocks worth Rp 9.2 trillion.
"The majority of the outflow occurred in March, as much as Rp 104.7 trillion," Perry told the media via teleconference on Tuesday.
The government announced its first confirmed Covid-19 cases on March 2, after months of denial and downplaying the risk of an outbreak in the country.
Since then, the country has reported more than 680 confirmed cases with a fatality rate of 8 percent.
Indonesia's Covid-19 fatality rate is far higher than the world's 4.3 percent, leading to speculations the extent of the pandemic could be far worse than the government has reported.
The Jakarta Composite Index has fallen 37 percent so far this year, one of its worst year-to-date declines since the 2008 global financial crisis.
Indonesian currency the rupiah has also tumbled to trade at 16,500 against the US dollar on Tuesday.
The rupiah has dropped 12 percent so far this year but this was nowhere near the 600 percent depreciation it experienced during the Asian financial crisis in 1998.
In the bond market, the yield on 10-year government bonds has exceeded 8.428 percent, nearing a one-and-a-half-year high. The yield moves inversely to the bonds' price.
Despite the selloff, Perry said liquidity in the markets was still "more than enough," and Bank Indonesia would remain in the market to avoid any liquidity crunch.
"Bank Indonesia has injected liquidity into the money market and banks, up to nearly Rp 300 trillion," Perry said.
That included government bond purchases from foreign investors in the secondary market worth more than Rp 168 trillion so far this year.
Bank Indonesia also got involved in repo transactions with local banks to the tune of around Rp 55 trillion.
The central bank has also reduced the reserve requirement for local banks, effective from April, which would add Rp 75 trillion to market liquidity.
Bank Indonesia will continue to increase the intensity of its triple interventions to keep the rupiah's exchange rate in line with its fundamentals and the market mechanism, Perry said.