RI investors confident over economy, ING survey says

Urip Hudiono, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesian investors are on par with their top regional peers in terms of perception of a better economy ahead, where they can expect higher returns for their investments, a regional survey has revealed.

There is also a growing interest among local investors, who usually prefer to invest in the country's property sector, to put their money in the stock markets, the survey from ING Asia Pacific revealed recently.

A total of 47 percent of Indonesian investors believe the local economy will improve in the next three months, with 29 percent having similarly said so of the previous period.

This follows a generally optimist outlook in the region, with more than 70 percent of investors in China and India showing confidence in their respective country's economy and investment environment. More than half of the respondents in Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Singapore also share an upbeat view on the future economy.

Only Japan showed a pessimist attitude, with only 26 percent of respondents expecting a more favorable economy, in what the survey says is a possible reflection of the country's recent political changes.

The first of the quarterly-planned surveys from the Amsterdam-based insurance group and New York-based TNS research firm included the responses of 1,038 individual investors in 13 Asia-Pacific markets.

Investors in Indonesia led the region with their confidence in being able to reap more handsome profits from their investments, with 55 percent of respondents seeing a higher return-on-investments (ROI) level, from 40 percent in the previous three-month period.

Investors in the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand followed suit, with those in China and India only slightly less optimistic. There were less respondents in the remaining countries that saw a higher ROI level ahead.

"Indonesia's improving macroeconomic condition has given local investors more confidence," ING Indonesia spokesperson Robert Scholten said of the survey, which was released earlier this week.

"Investment in property, which has been a sunset sector since the spike in fuel prices, is significantly on the rise."

Indonesia's property sector is indeed still attracting the majority of investments in the country, with 58 percent of respondents still considering the practice of purchasing land, houses and apartments as a major part of their portfolio.

This compares to local stocks as the main investment choice of respondents in Japan, Hongkong, Singapore, Korea, China, Taiwan and Thailand.

More Indonesian investors are eyeing prospects offered by the local stock market, with 17 percent of respondents planning to invest in shares in upcoming initial public offerings (IPOs) over the next three months. This is up from the 4 percent who did so in the previous period.

Caution should, however, still be exercised along with the growing confidence in investing, as Scholten noted the survey found investors in more mature economies were more conservative in their outlook, while those with a short investing history tended to be extremely optimistic.
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