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Today's Headlines Agus Martowardojo

  • Bank Indonesia Revises Down Economic Growth Outlook to 5.1%

    Bank Indonesia Revises Down Economic Growth Outlook to 5.1%

    The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) revised down its economic growth outlook for Indonesia in 2015. In a meeting with the House of Representatives’ Budget Committee, Bank Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardojo said that Indonesia’s GDP growth is expected to reach 5.1 percent (y/y) this year. Previously, the central bank projected economic growth in the range of 5.4 to 5.8 percent (y/y). However, after seeing weak growth in the first quarter (4.71 percent y/y), projections had to be revised.

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  • Dilemma Bank Indonesia: To Cut Interest Rates or Not?

    Dilemma Bank Indonesia: To Cut Interest Rates or Not?

    The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) is currently dealing with a dilemma. On the one hand, its relatively high interest rate environment (with the benchmark BI rate at 7.50 percent) is partly responsible for the country’s slowing economic growth as credit expansion is curtailed and economic activity declines. On the other hand, Bank Indonesia’s high BI rate is needed to safeguard Indonesia’s financial stability as inflation is still above the central bank’s target, the current account deficit nearly unsustainable, and capital outflows loom.

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  • What is Next for the Indonesian Economy in 2015?

    What is Next for the Indonesian Economy in 2015?

    After seeing the disappointing GDP growth figure of 4.71 percent (y/y) in the first quarter of 2015, investors have become concerned about Indonesia’s economic growth in the remainder of the year. The poor Q1-2015 GDP growth was caused by the country’s weak export performance (due to the sluggish global economy and low commodity prices), Indonesia’s high interest rate environment (curbing people’s purchasing power and business expansion of local companies), and sluggish government spending.

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  • Rupiah Update: Indonesian Authorities Say ‘No Need for Alarm’

    Rupiah Update: Indonesian Authorities Say ‘No Need for Alarm’

    As the Indonesian rupiah exchange rate depreciated beyond the psychologically-sensitive IDR 13,000 per USD threshold on Wednesday (05/03), both Indonesian Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro and Bank Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardojo stated that there is no need for panic as the performance of the rupiah against the US dollar is still in line with the performance of other currencies versus the US dollar. Based on the Bloomberg Dollar Index, the rupiah had depreciated 0.28 percent to IDR 13,028 by 13:35 pm local Jakarta time.

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  • Bank Indonesia Comfortable with Weak Rupiah to Improve Current Account

    The Indonesian rupiah exchange rate depreciated 0.79 percent to IDR 12,932 per US dollar according to the Bloomberg Dollar Index on Friday (27/02), its weakest level since end 2008, after the country’s central bank (Bank Indonesia) said it would not intervene too much to support the currency. Bank Indonesia said that it has no target level for the rupiah and will not go against the market. For the market these are signals that the central bank is comfortable with a weaker currency as that would improve the trade balance.

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  • Inflation Outlook Indonesia January 2015: Impact of Fuel Policy

    Inflation in Indonesia is expected to have eased to 7.50 percent year-on-year (y/y) in January 2015 on the back of cheaper domestic fuel prices (triggered by sliding global oil prices). The month-on-month pace (m/m) in the first month of 2015 may have tumbled to near zero percent from 2.46 percent (m/m) in December 2014. Last year, Indonesian inflation had accelerated to 8.36 percent (y/y) primarily due to the implementation of higher prices for government administered low-octane gasoline and diesel in November 2014.

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  • Indonesian Authorities Revise Economic Assumptions in 2015 Budget

    Indonesian Authorities Agree on Revised Economic Assumptions in 2015 Budget

    The Indonesian government, central bank (Bank Indonesia) and Commission XI of the House of Representatives (DPR) agreed to revise several macroeconomic targets in the Revised 2015 State Budget (APBN-P 2015). The revisions include the country’s economic growth (GDP) pace, the average rupiah exchange rate, and inflation target. In essence, the revisions indicate that Indonesian authorities have become less optimistic about the Indonesian economy in 2015 amid external pressures.

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  • Challenges to the Indonesian Economy: Global Oil Price & US Normalization

    Challenges to the Indonesian Economy: Global Oil Price & US Normalization

    Governor of Indonesia’s central bank (Bank Indonesia) Agus Martowardojo said that there are two main global challenges that are being faced by Southeast Asia’s largest economy and which can impact negatively on the nation’s economy. These challenges are the low global oil prices (which have fallen below USD $50 per barrel) and the monetary policy normalization of the US Federal Reserve amid the structural economic recovery of the USA. This policy involves higher US interest rates (expected in the second half of 2015) and a bullish US dollar.

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  • Update Indonesia: Interest Rate, Fuel Subsidies & Current Account Deficit

    The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) announced today (after the Board of Governors’ meeting) that it keeps the benchmark interest rate (BI rate) at 7.50 percent. The lending facility rate and the deposit rate are maintained at 7.50 percent and 5.75 percent, respectively. Agus Martowardojo, Governor of Bank Indonesia, said that interest rates were maintained as the country’s current account deficit narrowed to 3.07 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter of 2014.

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  • Indonesia’s October Inflation: Fuel Subsidies and Volatile Food Prices

    Indonesia’s inflation figure this October may reach the highest level in five years primarily due to volatile food prices triggered by drought in several parts of Indonesia. Chili, in particular, has shown a widening gap between domestic demand and production thus adding inflationary pressures in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. The country’s central bank expects that the inflation figure may reach 0.4 percent (month-on-month, m/m), considerably higher than the historic average in October.

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Latest Columns Agus Martowardojo

  • Current Account Indonesia in Check, Worry about Import and Capital & Financial Account

    Current Account Indonesia in Check, Worry about Import and Capital & Financial Account

    Indonesia's current account deficit eased to USD $4.01 billion, or 1.86 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), in the third quarter of 2015. The central bank (Bank Indonesia) said this improvement is particularly caused by a stronger non-oil & gas trade balance. However, Indonesia's capital and financial account surplus declined to USD $1.2 billion, causing the balance of payments deficit to widen to USD $4.6 billion from USD $2.9 billion in the preceding quarter.

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  • Inflation Update Indonesia: Mounting Seasonal Pressures in June

    Inflation Update Indonesia: Mounting Seasonal Pressures in June

    The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) predicts mounting inflationary pressures in the months June and July due to the Ramadan and Idul Fitri festivities, the possible impact of the El Nino weather phenomenon, and the new school year. Bank Indonesia expects to see inflation at 0.66 percent month-to-month (m/m) in June 2015, particularly driven by volatile food prices (a normal phenomenon ahead of Idul Fitri). On a year-on-year (y/y) basis, Indonesian inflation is expected to accelerate to 7.40 percent, from 7.15 percent in May.

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  • Buying a House in Indonesia Made Easier as BI Supports Economic Growth

    Buying a House in Indonesia Made Easier as BI Supports Economic Growth

    Soon it will be made easier to buy property in Indonesia as the country’s central bank (Bank Indonesia) plans to ease down payment (DP) requirements for mortgages. Today (22/05), Bank Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardojo told reporters that the DP obligation for first-home buyers will be lowered from 30 percent to 20 percent of the property’s value. This relaxation should have a positive effect on the performance of Indonesia’s financial institutions and property developers as demand for loans and property is assumed to grow.

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  • Foreign Debt Growth Indonesia Slows, What about the Interest Rate?

    Foreign Debt Growth Indonesia Slows, What about the Interest Rate?

    Bank Indonesia announced today that the country’s total foreign debt rose 7.6 percent (y/y) to USD $298.1 billion in the first quarter of 2015. This figure means that the pace of the country’s foreign debt growth has slowed from the 10.2 percentage point growth (y/y) that was recorded in the preceding quarter. Both public and private sector foreign debt growth slowed as both sectors are more careful to take up loans amid a weakening rupiah while export revenues decline amid sluggish global (and domestic) economic growth.

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  • Inflation Update Indonesia: "April Inflation Higher than Usual"

    Inflation Update Indonesia: April Inflation Higher than Usual

    Inflation in Indonesia is expected to accelerate to 6.80 percent year-on-year (y/y) in April 2015, from 6.38 percent y/y in the previous month, according to the central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia). As global oil prices have somewhat recovered from their recent lows, they add inflationary pressures in Indonesia (higher transportation costs). On a month-on-month (m/m) basis, Indonesian inflation is expected to be around 0.35 percent in April. This figure would be in sharp contrast to ‘normal’ April inflation.

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  • Pressures on Indonesia’s Rupiah to Continue in the First Half of 2015

    Pressures on Indonesia’s Rupiah to Continue in the First Half of 2015

    The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) stated that, besides global volatility caused by uncertainty about the timing of higher US interest rates, the rupiah has been - and remains - under pressure due to Indonesia’s increasing private sector debt and the wide current account deficit. Moreover, as subsidiaries of multinational companies in Indonesia tend to send back dividends to the foreign parent companies in the second quarter (implying rising US dollar demand), the rupiah is plagued by additional pressures up to June.

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  • Analysis Performance of the Indonesian Rupiah Exchange Rate

    The Indonesian rupiah exchange rate continued to depreciate on Monday (02/03). According to the Bloomberg Dollar Index, Indonesia’s currency depreciated 0.30 percent to IDR 12,970 per US dollar, a six-year low. Apart from general bullish US dollar momentum in recent months (amid monetary tightening in the USA), the rupiah weakened due to Bank Indonesia’s signals that it tolerates a weaker currency in a move to boost exports (limiting the country’s current account deficit), and due to China’s interest rates cut.

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  • Macroeconomic Stability Indonesia: Inflation and GDP Update

    The Governor of Indonesia’s central bank, Agus Martowardojo, said that he expects inflation to accelerate to 6.1 percent year-on-year (y/y) in November 2014, significantly up from 4.83 percent y/y in the previous month. Accelerated inflation is caused by the multiplier effect triggered by the recent subsidized fuel price hike in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. On 18 November 2014, the government introduced higher prices for subsidized fuels in a bid to reallocate public spending from fuel consumption to structural development.

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  • Current Account Balance Indonesia: Deficit of 3.07% of GDP in Q3-2014

    Current Account Balance Indonesia: Deficit of 3.07% of GDP in Q3-2014

    The current account deficit of Indonesia eased to USD $6.84 billion, or 3.07 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter of 2014 (down from USD $8.69 billion, or 4.07 percent of GDP in the previous quarter). This improvement was mainly supported by a solid surplus in the country’s non-oil & gas sector, partly the result of the US economic recovery as well as resumed copper concentrate exports by Freeport Indonesia and Newmont Nusa Tenggara (after successful mining contract renegotiations).

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  • Bank Indonesia Forces Companies to Hedge Foreign Debt

    Bank Indonesia Forces Companies to Hedge Foreign Debt

    Non-bank corporations in Indonesia that hold external (foreign-denominated) debt will be forced to hedge their foreign exchange holdings against the Indonesian rupiah with a ratio of 20 percent in the period 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015 in an effort to limit risks stemming from increased private sector external debt. At end-August 2014, privately-held foreign debt stood at USD $156.2 billion (53.8 percent of the country’s total external debt), increasing three-fold from end-2005 and thus jeopardizing macroeconomic stability.

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