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Indonesia enters recession as GDP slips 3.5% in Q3

Security officers stand guard at a checkpoint, monitoring coronavirus protocols, in Jakarta, Indonesia, on September 17. The government released statistics Thursday that said its economy had shrunk by 3.49%, indicating it had entered a recession. EPA-EFE/ADI WEDA
Security officers stand guard at a checkpoint, monitoring coronavirus protocols, in Jakarta, Indonesia, on September 17. The government released statistics Thursday that said its economy had shrunk by 3.49%, indicating it had entered a recession. EPA-EFE/ADI WEDA

Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Indonesia has slipped into a recession for the first time in more than two decades, government data released Thursday confirmed as the Asian nation's economy continues to contract as it battles elevated levels of the coronavirus.

The country's statistics bureau released economic data Thursday indicating that Southeast Asia's largest economy had contracted in the third quarter of 2020 by 3.49% on-year after having slipped 5.32% in the second quarter.

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The last time the country had entered a recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of gross domestic product decline, was during the 1998 Asian financial crisis.

Indonesia has been the worst country hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in Southeast Asia, with more than 420,000 infections and 14,200 deaths to the virus, according to its health ministry.

The nation has been fighting climbing infections through lockdowns and border restrictions that have hurt the economy. However, Indonesia has experienced a recent choppy and gradual decline in daily cases from a high of 4,850 infections reported in early October to 3,356 cases on Thursday, according to a live tally of the virus by Johns Hopkins University.

Forecasters predict that the economy will continue to experience hardships going forward.

"We continue to expect growth momentum to be subdued for the next few quarters as Indonesia struggles to get a hold of the coronavirus," financial services company ING Group wrote. "Meanwhile, GDP in 4Q will likely be weighed down after stringent lockdown measures were reinstated in Jakarta last October after cases spiked."

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