Bogor, W Java (ANTARA) - Mari Elka Pangestu, newly appointed World Bank's managing director of development policy and partnerships, projects Indonesia's 2020 first-quarter economic growth to remain in the five-percent range despite rising global economic pressure over the coronavirus outbreak.

"I think we expect (the economic growth) to lie at around five percent, yes," Pangestu stated after a meeting with President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) at the Bogor Palace, West Java, on Tuesday.

Pangestu spoke of a possibility of Indonesia's economic growth in the first quarter of 2020 to be below five percent. However, the opportunity to maintain economic growth in the range of five percent is still open if the government is able to offer stimulus to maintain the people's purchasing power.

"Actually, below or above five percent for me, the difference is not big. The important aspect is we have to feel lucky to be able to maintain it stable at five percent," he stated.

Pangestu explained that the coronavirus outbreak will impact the tourism sector. Indonesia has closed direct flights to and from China from February 5, 2020, until an undetermined time. This has the potential to inhibit foreign exchange earnings from the tourism sector.

Based on the Ministry of Tourism’s data, the number of Chinese tourist arrivals last year had reached two million.

Apart from tourism, Pangestu noted that the domestic business sector can also potentially be disrupted over the decline in Chinese industrial productivity due to the coronavirus outbreak. Export and import activities from Indonesia, such as pharmaceutical raw materials, are indeed mostly met by the Chinese industry.

Pangestu expects the government to encourage domestic growth by improving the people's purchasing power. Indonesia can realize this since it has a relatively large domestic market.

During her meeting with President Jokowi, Pangestu expressed gratitude for being nominated as Indonesia's representative for the World Bank. Pangestu will hold this position, with effect from March 1, 2020.

"I come to express my gratitude that the president has nominated my name for the position of managing Director of the World Bank. The president hopes that I would regularly update on the global situation that is currently marked by several issues and challenges," Pangestu stated.

During the meeting, Pangestu and President Jokowi held extensive discussions on the global economy. Moreover, the global economic growth is expected to be lower owing to the spread of the coronavirus.

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Translator: Indra Arief, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Sri Haryati
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