HONG KONG/JAKARTA (Reuters) – Unofficial “quick counts” in Indonesia’s election on Wednesday, based on data from some polling stations, gave incumbent President Joko Widodo, or Jokowi, a substantial lead over ex-general Prabowo Subianto.
According to a quick count by the Jakarta-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Widodo had 56.7 percent of the votes, versus Prabowo’s 43.3 percent, with just over half of the votes counted.
In previous elections, the quick counts from reputable pollsters have proved to be accurate.
The official results will be announced by the election commission on May 22.
Expectations that Jokowi, a former furniture salesman who launched his political career as a small-city mayor, would win a second five-year term have helped buoy markets this year. The rupiah is up more than 2 percent against the dollar while the stock market has risen 4.6 percent.
Indonesian markets were closed on Wednesday for the election.
TAY EK PON, SENIOR PORTFOLIO MANAGER, EMERGING MARKET FIXED INCOME, BNP PARIBAS ASSET MANAGEMENT, SINGAPORE
“(A Widodo victory) has mostly been priced in, in the bond as well as currency markets. I don’t expect significant reaction in FX. Foreign investors have already increased exposure to the currency this year on the back of dovish central bank (policies).
“55 percent is a bit narrower than the polls were predicting. There is a risk of narrower majority or a dispute over the result. That could create some near-term uncertainty and drive credit spreads wider. But in that event, I would probably add to my position in Indonesian bonds. Indonesia has shown resilience, economic growth is expected to hold up around 5 percent.
“I think if it’s the same government that is elected, they will continue their commitment towards fiscal discipline”
JON HARRISON, MANAGING DIRECTOR, EMERGING MARKETS MACRO STRATEGY, TS LOMBARD, LONDON:
“This is clearly positive. Investors have been nervous about the risk of a change of government and policy. Investments that people have been putting off will now be prepared to go ahead.
“Particularly if (Widodo’s share of the vote) is 55 percent, that is a decisive mandate. A narrower margin could give rise to accusation of (election) fraud and so on. This is a good outcome for the market.”
“The (Indonesian) central bank is going to be very cautious about letting the rupiah rally too much, and the bond market as well. But foreign investors should be relieved about this. It is in line with opinion polls and expectations.”
Reporting by Noah Sin in Hong Kong and the Jakarta bureau; Editing by Richard Borsuk