JAKARTA

Indonesia’s economy contracted for the first time in more than two decades due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) announced on Wednesday.

The gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 5.32% in the second quarter of 2020, down by 4.19% from the previous quarter, according to BPS head Suhariyanto.

“This is the first contraction in over two decades,” he said in a virtual news conference, referring to the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997.

The official said the economy based on GDP at current prices in the second quarter reached 3,687.7 trillion Indonesian rupiah (over $254.3 billion), and 2,589.6 trillion Indonesian rupiah (over $178.5 billion) on the basis of constant 2010 prices.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating ripple effect on the global economy, with multiple countries, including the US, recently having reported record losses.

“Maintaining the balance is not easy and many countries have experienced a contraction in the second quarter of 2020,” said Suhariyanto.

The dismal figures for Southeast Asia’s largest economy came amid a continuing surge in virus cases, with 1,815 more infections raising Indonesia’s total to 116,871 on Wednesday.

At least 64 more fatalities were reported over the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 5,452, while recoveries increased by 1,838 to reach 73,889.

* Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian language service in Jakarta

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