Indonesia plans to switch to a single time zone on Oct. 28, allowing Southeast Asia’s biggest economy to match clocks in Singapore, Malaysia and China, the country’s trade ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
The change will put Indonesia, the world’s largest shipper of thermal coal and tin, eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, according to the ministry. The country that stretches about 5,300 kilometers (3,294 miles) and borders India in the west and Australia in the east, has three time zones.
The move will help accelerate economic development across the country, Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan said in the statement in Jakarta. After the change in clocks, the country’s stock market will open 30 minutes after bourses in Singapore and Malaysia, from 90 minutes at present.
“The benefit will be in synchronized trade and financial transactions with regional markets,” Anton Gunawan, chief economist at Bank Danamon Indonesia, said by phone on Wednesday. Still, the switch “requires work and there’s the cost impact, not to mention the disorder that may ensue. The benefit isn’t that evident compared with the cost that comes with it.”
Jakarta’s clocks are two hours behind cities in eastern Indonesia. A unified time zone will help improve communication and productivity of Indonesia’s bureaucracy and help the spread of information through medium such as television broadcasts, Wirjawan said.