U.S. Markets closed

Indonesia ETFs Vulnerable as Prabowo Contests Ballots


With an average year-to-date gain north of 30%, the iShares MSCI Indonesia ETF (EIDO) and the Market Vectors Indonesia Index ETF (IDX) are two this year’s best single-country emerging markets ETFs.

The strength in Indonesian equities and the aforementioned ETFs is being tested as former general Prabowo Subianto contests the results of Indonesia’s recent national elections. Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, investors’ preferred candidate, beat Prabowo by 8.4 million votes. Yet Prabowo is contesting the validity of nearly 22 million ballots in the world’s fourth-largest nation by population.

EIDO and IDX, the two largest Indonesia ETFs, finished last week with modest losses, but on four-day losing streaks. Prabowo has taken his case to Indonesia’s Constitutional Court. “If they choose to accept the case, the court’s nine justices have until Aug. 24 to deliver a judgment,” report Yudith Ho and Harry Suhartono for Bloomberg.

EIDO and IDX, home to about $810 million in combined assets under management, have rallied this year on expectations of a Joko victory. While the returns of those ETFs bear some resemblance to the performances notched by comparable India ETFs in the run up to and the aftermath of Narendra Modi’s victory there, Indonesia ETFs are being subjected to post-election controversy not seen in India. [Don't Confuse Indonesia ETFs, Election With India]

Prabowo’s contesting of Joko’s victory comes as some Indonesian sectors are looking pricey. For example, it was recently reported that Indonesian consumer shares trade 24 times forward earnings with Unilever Indonesia ranking as the most expensive staples stock in the world. [Indonesia Stocks Look Pricey]

EIDO and IDX allocate 12.2% and 15.7%, respectively, to staples stocks.

Market observers believe Joko’s victory will ultimately be ratified and there are already signs of various politicians and power-brokers rallying behind the president-elect.

For his part, Joko has talked the talk, saying that he wants Southeast Asia’s largest economy to recapture a GDP growth rate of 7%, which has not been seen since prior to the days of the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s.

That ambitious growth agenda, if realized, could benefit EIDO and IDX. EIDO has pulled in nearly $136 million in new assets this year.

Market Vectors Indonesia Index ETF


ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.