Indonesia is rarely mentioned in the same breath as the so-called BRIC economies that investors and exporters eye with envy. Yet the country is home to the world's fourth-largest population, at 237 million, trailing only two of the BRIC countries, China and India, and the United States. Its economy grew 4.5% last year, the third-highest among the Group of 20 economies, and the momentum carried over into 2010, with first-quarter growth of 5.1% annualized followed by a 6.5% expansion for the April-to-June period. And, according to the International Monetary Fund, Indonesia was the only G20 country to lower its ratio of debt to gross domestic product during the financial crisis. "It certainly has the size that you would think it should be among the BRICs," said Robert Simmons, chief representative for Export Development Canada in southeast Asia. "But it has never quite lived up to its potential."
That may be about to change in the coming years. In its recent forecast on the Far East, CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets said Indonesia would be the region's "outperformer" over the next two years when the global economy is expected to cool down in the post-stimulus era. It anticipates Indonesian GDP to expand 5.6% next year and 5.4% in 2012.