An official at Indonesia's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources stated that the production of coal in the first four months of 2014 grew five percent (year-on-year) to 147 million tons. As such, the country is still on track to meet this year's coal production target of 426 million tons. Exports of Indonesian coal totaled 109 million tons in the January-April 2014 period, while the remainder (38 million tons) was sold on the domestic market. Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest economy, is one of the world's largest producers and exporters of coal.
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The sharply depreciated Indonesia rupiah exchange rate in combination with the inability to raise domestic production of crude oil threatens to balloon government subsidy expenditure. Fuel subsidies may increase 20 percent to IDR 252 trillion (USD $20.8 billion) in 2014 as the rupiah currently has about 14 percent less value (based on the Bloomberg Dollar Index) than the value assumed in the 2014 State Budget (APBN 2014). The government assumed a rupiah rate of IDR 10,500 per US dollar in the APBN 2014.
Indonesia's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources stated that domestic production of coal in Southeast Asia's largest economy reached 421 million tons in 2013. This implies a 7.6 percent growth in production from the previous year (391 million tons). R. Sukhyar, General Director of Mineral and Coal within the Ministry said that Indonesia's production of coal in 2014 is likely to exceed 400 million tons again as global demand for this fossil fuel remains strong. Indonesia is one of the world's largest producers and exporters of coal.
The depreciating Indonesia rupiah exchange rate has large consequences for Indonesia's state budget, in particular fuel subsidy spending, as the government imports a large quantity of its crude oil demand (in US dollars). The weak rupiah, which has depreciated about 25 percent against the US dollar since the start of 2013, results in a ballooning of fuel subsidy spending. In the Revised State Budget of 2013, fuel subsidies were set at IDR 199.9 trillion but after the rupiah's downslide, another IDR 50 trillion is needed to cover the imports.
Bloomberg reported that the investment agency of Indonesia's finance ministry will start a fund of IDR 3 trillion (USD $302 million) to finance the exploration of geothermal energy resources in Indonesia this year. Saritaon Siregar, the agency’s chairman, said this in an interview at a conference in Jakarta this week. The investment fund is in line with Indonesia's intention of lowering its dependency on expensive and environmentally unfriendly fossil fuels as a source for energy and electricity.
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Indonesian President Joko Widodo (often called Jokowi) emphasized that the government of Indonesia needs to boost development of renewable energy. Although Indonesia contains huge potential for renewable energy (particularly geothermal energy), the share of renewable energy in Indonesia’s total energy use currently stands at around 5 percent only, the remainder being fossil energy. By providing incentives, attractive tariffs and an easier licensing and registration process, the government can generate more investment in this sector.
Imports of oil will accelerate to 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2020 if fuels continue to be subsidized by the Indonesian government. This development will seriously burden Indonesia's trade balance (and current account). In 2013, Indonesia posted a trade deficit of USD $12.6 billion in the oil & gas sector. Due to improved performance in the non-oil & gas sector, the overall trade deficit was kept at USD $4.06 billion. Besides placing downward pressure on the rupiah exchange rate, expensive subsidies also burden the state budget.
The government of Indonesia will revise its crude oil production target in 2014 to 820 thousand barrels per day (bpd), down from its previous target of 870 thousand bpd. The main reasons for this downgrade are the country's mature oil fields in combination with a lack of exploration as well as other investments in this sector. Indonesia, once an important oil exporting country and member of the OPEC, has seen its oil output decline drastically over the last decade, thus becoming a net importer as the country's domestic consumption continues to rise.
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