Approaching the end of the year, retail companies in Indonesia are now starting to prepare for the upcoming Christmas and New Year celebrations in late-December. Indonesia has two traditional peaks of rising consumer demand (hence rising inflationary pressures): (1) Ramadan/Idul Fitri festivities and (2) Christmas/New Year celebrations.
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Today's Headlines Christmas
Rising religious tensions not only rise in Indonesia due to the blasphemy trial of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) but also due to a recently issued edict by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), Indonesia's highest Islamic clerical body. This edict prohibits Muslims to wear Christmas clothes and accessories and primarily aims at those Muslims who work in shopping malls where many restaurant and shop owners make their staff dress up in "Christmas-spirit".
Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago. Due to the country's sheer size (implying diversity) it contains a variety of different religions and traditional beliefs. The Constitution of Indonesia, a secular democratic country containing a Muslim-majority population, guarantees all Indonesian citizens the freedom of worship, each according to his or her own religion or belief. This also means that Indonesia contains many, mostly religion-inspired, public holidays on which financial markets are closed.
Indonesia's inflation figure in December 2015 was higher than expected at 0.96 percent month-on-month (m/m). The monthly inflation rate was high due to rising prices of food and transportation caused by the Christmas and New Year celebrations. Nevertheless, Indonesia's annual inflation rate fell to the lowest level since 2010 as the impact of the November 2014 subsidized fuel price hike vanished from the annual inflation figure, hence inflation realization falling well below the government target (5 percent) and the central bank's target range (3 - 5 percent) in 2015.
Indonesian inflation may reach 2.9 percent year-on-year (y/y) only in full-year 2015, the lowest level since 2009 when inflation in Southeast Asia's largest economy was recorded at 2.78 percent (y/y). In recent years Indonesia's inflation has been volatile with peaks correlating with administered price adjustments (primarily fuel and electricity price hikes as the government is keen on limiting spending on subsidies). Another characteristic of Indonesia is that inflation is generally high (compared to advanced economies), which is in line with the higher economic growth pace (than that of advanced economies).
Indonesia is a large and diverse country. One of the implications of this diverse context is that the country contains a variety of different religions and traditional beliefs. The Constitution of Indonesia, a secular democratic country containing a Muslim-majority population, guarantees all Indonesian citizens the freedom of worship, each according to his or her own religion or belief. This also means that Indonesia contains many, mostly religion-inspired, public holidays on which financial markets are closed.
The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) expects that the country’s inflation figure in December 2013 (month-to-month) will be below 0.5 percent. Up to the third week of December, inflation increased 0.36 percent according to data from Bank Indonesia. Considering the month of December always brings along inflationary pressures due to seasonal celebrations (Christmas and New Year), Bank Indonesia's inflation estimate of below 0.5 percent can be considered rather low.
Household consumption in Indonesia has improved in November 2013 according to Bank Indonesia's Consumer Survey. The central bank's Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) rose 4.8 points to 114.3 points. This improvement is attributable to increased available job opportunities and increased purchases of durable goods ahead of Christmas 2013 and New Year. Lastly, Indonesian consumers are more positive about Indonesia's economic condition in the coming six months.
Latest Columns Christmas
The Consumer Confidence Index of Indonesia rose 0.9 percent in September 2013 after having fallen 8.4 percent in the previous month. In September, the index rose because Indonesian consumers are more confident about prospects of the Indonesian economy, while concerns about the increase of certain food prices eased. Purbaya Yudhi Sadewa, chief economist at the Danareksa Research Insititute, said that in September 77.4 percent of consumers were concerned about rising food prices, down from 82.5 percent in August.
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