I can just about remember when Indonesia was talked about in the same breath as China – huge latent demand, lots of foreign direct investment and great natural resources.
Then came the Asian financial crisis and economic ruin. But now, as this article from the Economist indicates, the government had paid off its debt to the IMF, the stockmarket has been booming and the rupiah is strong.
True, the recent floods have hit growth. But the potential is perhaps closer to being realised than at any time since 1997, provided the government spends its money wisely on much-needed new infrastructure and there is more private sector investment.
This is a country with a huge population with per capita polymer consumption at only 17.5kg and an already proven case for more petrochemical investment: Indonesia still only has one cracker and has big monomer deficits.
But perceptions are hard to shake off, even if the government has balanced its budget and is dealing with corruption.