Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, is finally poised to take the title of the biggest equity market in the region.
Its market value of $529 billion has nearly matched that of slumping Thailand, which snatched the top spot from Singapore in May, buoyed by a strengthening baht. With its currency giving back some gains and economic growth trailing forecasts, the SET Index is the region’s only benchmark to decline in the past three months.
In contrast, Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite Index has gained 5.5% in US dollar terms during that period. President Joko Widodo is embarking on a new round of infrastructure projects and pursuing reforms to stimulate the fourth-most populous country in the world.
Indonesia did hold the most-valuable crown for several short periods between January and April of last year. Before 2019, Singapore was Southeast Asia’s leader the vast majority of the time since at least 2003, when Bloomberg began compiling the data.
To be sure, the biggest Southeast Asian market ranks 21st globally, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Moreover, eight individual companies are worth more than the market of either Thailand or Indonesia, including three trillion-dollar firms: Saudi Arabian Oil Co, Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp.