Per 1 April 2016 Indonesia's premium gasoline and diesel fuel prices decline by IDR 500 (approx. USD $0.04) per liter. Provided no shocks occur on the international crude oil market, these prices will remain at this level up to 31 September 2016. In January 2015 the Indonesian government scrapped generous subsidies for premium gasoline and capped the subsidy for diesel fuel at IDR 1,000 per liter. Ever since, Indonesian authorities evaluate prices of premium and diesel each quarter and determine prices based on crude oil price movements on the international market.
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Indonesian state-owned energy company Pertamina raised the price of pertamax, a 92-octane gasoline, by 2.3 percent per 1 May 2015 as the result of recovering global oil prices. On Java, Indonesia’s most populous island, the price of pertamax rose by IDR 200 to IDR 8,800 (USD $0.68) per liter. Outside Java, fuel prices are generally more expensive due to high logistics costs. The price of premium, the low-octane gasoline which was heavily subsidized until the start of the year, was left unchanged at IDR 7,400 (USD $0.57) per liter.
Contrary to earlier reports the Indonesian government has not decided yet to completely phase out production and consumption of low-octane gasoline (known as premium) in Indonesia. Last week state-owned energy company Pertamina said that premium, a subsidized fuel that was introduced under the Suharto regime in order to support the population’s purchasing power (by making transportation costs artificially low) would be gradually replaced by 90-octane pertalite, a higher-grade fuel, starting from May 2015.
In line with other Asian emerging market currencies, the Indonesian rupiah is depreciating against the US dollar on Monday’s trading day (20/04). According to the Bloomberg Dollar Index, Indonesia’s currency had depreciated 0.25 percent to IDR 12,882 per US dollar at 13:00 pm local Jakarta time. However, Head of Research at NH Korindo Securities Reza Priyambada believes that the currency cannot depreciate much further as positive economic data provides enough support for the rupiah.
Despite some protests in Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta, the Indonesian government raised the price of subsidized low-octane gasoline (premium) from IDR 6,900 (USD $0.53) per liter to IDR 7,400 (USD $0.56) over the weekend (a 7.2 percentage point price increase). Meanwhile, the price of subsidized diesel (solar) was raised from IDR 6,400 (USD $0.49) to IDR 6,900 per liter (+7.8 percent). The price increase was considered necessary as crude oil prices had increased over the past month, while the rupiah continued to depreciate.
After weeks of uncertainty, Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced on Monday (17/11) that prices of subsidized fuels (gasoline and diesel) are to be raised by IDR 2,000 (USD $0.16) per liter starting from midnight. Gasoline (premium) is to be raised from IDR 6,500 to IDR 8,500 per liter, while diesel will be raised from IDR 5,500 to IDR 7,500 per liter. Earlier it was speculated that an IDR 3,000 per liter price hike would be announced. However, as global oil prices have declined sharply, this was considered an unnecessary burden for the people.
Indonesian newspaper Investor Daily reported in today’s edition (11/09) that Joko Widodo (who will become Indonesia’s 7th president on 20 October 2014) plans to raise prices of subsidized fuel in November or December 2014. Reportedly, the price of gasoline (premium) will be raised by IDR 1,000 (USD $0.08) to IDR 7,500 (USD $0.64) per liter and the price of diesel (solar) by IDR 1,000 as well to become IDR 6,500 (USD $0.55) per liter. Meanwhile Widodo will enhance the social safety net to protect the poor.
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The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) will not lower its key interest rate (BI rate) until accelerated inflation (brought on by the looming subsidized fuel price hike at the end of the year) has eased and US interest rates are stable (the US Federal Reserve may raise its key interest rate in the second or third quarter of 2015). This implies that the relatively high interest rate environment in Indonesia (the key BI rate has been at 7.50 percent for almost a year) will continue (to safeguard financial stability) at the expense of higher economic growth.
Yesterday, Statistics Indonesia (BPS), a non-departmental government institution, released Indonesia's export and import numbers of February 2013. Indonesia's imports reached US $15.32 billion, while its exports stood at US $14.99 billion. It has thus resulted in the continuation of a trade deficit (US $327.4 million). For Indonesia, which always reported trade surpluses until last year, it is a worrying scenario as the trade deficit and higher inflation put pressure on the IDR rupiah.
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