Indonesian chemicals markets slow due to new COVID-19 restrictions


SINGAPORE (CIHI) – Indonesian chemicals markets are expected to slow as new emergency measures take effect in key areas of the country from July 3 to 20 to stem a massive increase in coronavirus cases.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced Thursday that COVID-19 control measures will be stepped up from July 3 to 20 for Java and Bali, which represent more than half of the country’s population.

“This PPKM [Emergency Enforcement of
Restrictions on Public Activities] will have stricter activity restrictions than what we’ve had so far, ”Widodo said in an internet broadcast.

In end-use acetone and phenol factories such as paints and coatings, laminates and plywood, industry sources said they were operating at production rates below about 60 to 70. % due to restrictions.

In the fatty alcohol ethoxylates and polyesters sectors, players are focusing on domestic sales rather than exports due to soaring transportation costs and red tape involved in shipping goods.

In the Asian ethyl acetate (etac) market, talks have eased amid lockdowns in the southeast region. Indonesia is one of the main buyers of etac.

“Demand will drop in July. Discussions will be postponed for at least two weeks … [market
players are in] no desire to buy, ”said a source from the regional market.

“A lot of people in the field are [COVID-19]
infected… hospitals are overwhelmed, ”the source said.

Travel under Indonesia’s new emergency measure will be more restricted, with non-essential offices closed and meals prohibited.

Critical sectors, including finance and banking, information technology (IT) and communications, hospitality and export, must reduce their office capacity to 50%.

Businesses in critical sectors, including energy, health, logistics and transport, and food supply, will be exempt from the measures.

Indonesia reported 24,836 new daily cases and 504 deaths on July 1.

The country has the highest coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia with more than 2.2 million people, with 58,995 deaths, as of July 1, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO) .

“The most dangerous and deadly COVID-19 Delta variant is fueling infections that are skyrocketing across Indonesia, overwhelming hospitals and oxygen supplies in Jakarta and other parts of the country,” said the Indonesian Red Cross in a statement on June 29.

More than 20% of COVID-19 tests in Indonesia are positive according to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, indicating that the number of sick and infected people is likely much more widespread.

Focus article by Nurluqman Suratman

Additional reporting by Melanie Wee, Helen Yan and Judith Wang, Angeline Soh and Yuanlin Koh

Photo: The Indonesian Ministry of Health on July 1, 2021 launched the mass vaccination against COVID-19 for children aged 12 to 17 as the national capital organized its first mass vaccination for adolescents. (Source: Xinhua / Shutterstock)

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