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Today's Headlines Global Economy

  • Low Indonesian Inflation Rate Expected to Continue into January 2014

    The Governor of Indonesia's central bank (Bank Indonesia), Agus Martowardojo, expects that the pace of inflation in Indonesia in January 2014 is most likely to become one of the lowest January inflation rates in the last five years although it remains important that food supplies are maintained at safe levels. The higher price of LPG in Southeast Asia's largest economy is expected to contribute only slightly to January's inflation rate. Martowardojo also stated that Indonesia's macroeconomy is stable at the start of a new year.

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  • Finance Minister: Indonesia's Economic Growth in 2013 Expected at 5.7%

    Finance Minister: Indonesia's Economic Growth in 2013 Expected at 5.7%

    Chatib Basri, the Finance Minister of Indonesia, expects Indonesia's economy to expand 5.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. As such, total gross domestic product (GDP) growth of Southeast Asia's largest economy in 2013 will total between 5.6 to 5.7 percent in 2013. This result will imply that Indonesia's economic expansion in 2013 has slowed down for the second straight year, mainly due to global economic turmoil. In 2011 and 2012, the country's economy expanded by 6.5 percent and 6.2 percent respectively.

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  • Jakarta Composite Index Expected to Show Better Performance in 2014

    Jakarta Composite Index (IHSG) Expected to Show Better Performance in 2014

    Various analysts believe that the benchmark stock index of Indonesia (the Jakarta Composite Index or IHSG) can make a good jump in 2014 to the level of between 5,000 to 5,300 points (from 4,182 currently) despite the looming end of the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing program (QE3) which may result in temporary capital outflow from Indonesia's capital markets. The analysts believe that positive internal developments will provide solid support for the IHSG. These developments include the trade balance, rupiah exchange rate and general elections.

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  • IMF: Slowing Growth and Widening Macro-Imbalances in Indonesia

    IMF: Slowing Growth and Widening Macro-imbalances in Indonesia

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) detects a slowdown in GDP growth in major emerging market economies and decline in commodity prices, and more recently, a reversal in push factors tied to a prospective exit from extraordinarily easy global monetary conditions, has put pressure on Indonesia’s balance of payments and heightened its vulnerability to shocks. Domestic policy accommodation and rising energy subsidies have also given rise to increased external and fiscal imbalances.

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  • Developing Asia Growth Outlook Steady as Industrial Economies Firm

    An improving economic growth outlook in both Japan and the USA paired with stronger-than- expected growth in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) support a steady growth outlook for developing Asia, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report. The Asian Development Outlook Supplement, released on Wednesday (11/12), forecasts growth of 6.0 percent in 2013 for ADB’s 45 developing member countries, improving to 6.2 percent in 2014. The forecasts are unchanged from the Asian Development Outlook Update issued in October.

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  • Bali Package Important Step for the WTO's Doha Development Round

    Bali Package Important Step for the WTO's Doha Development Round

    After two long days of intense negotiations, Director of the World Trade Organization Roberto Azevedo announced that the discussions have resulted in the Bali declaration on Saturday morning (07/12). The agreement between the participants were put in 10 documents, known as the Bali Package, and cover trade facilitation (trade liberalizations), agriculture, cotton and development. Azevedo stressed the importance of the agreement when he said "[for the] first time in our history, the WTO has truly delivered."

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  • Indonesia's Economic Growth in 2014: Growing or Slowing?

    Despite the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) having revised down their forecasts for Indonesia's economic growth in 2014, the Center for Economic and Public Policy Studies (Pusat Studi Ekonomi dan Kebijakan Publik) expects that the country's economy will grow stronger in 2014 than this year. In 2014, the World Bank and IMF expect Indonesia's gross domestic product to grow 5.4 percent and 5.5 percent respectively. Both estimates are 0.2 percent down from their GDP growth forecasts for the year 2013.

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  • In Anticipation of Tapering, Bank Indonesia May Raise its BI Rate Again

    In Anticipation of Tapering, Bank Indonesia May Raise its BI Rate Again

    Several analysts expect that the central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) will raise its key interest rate (BI rate) again in the first Semester of 2014 in order to anticipate the winding down of the Federal Reserve's monthly USD $85 billion stimulus program (quantitative easing). Currently, the BI rate is set at 7.50 percent but analysts say that the market should be prepared for a hike to 8.0 percent in the first half of 2014. Between June and November 2013, Bank Indonesia has already raised its benchmark interest rate from 5.75 to 7.50 percent.

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  • Agus Martowardojo Comments on Indonesia's Macroeconomy in 2014

    Agus Martowardojo Comments on Indonesia's Macroeconomy in 2014

    Agus Martowardojo, Governor of Indonesia's central bank, expects the Indonesian economy to consolidate in 2014. The country is currently experiencing an economic correction with GDP growth slowing to 5.62 percent in the third quarter of 2013. Martowardojo said that the current account deficit still needs time to reach a healthy level. Indonesia's current account deficit stood at USD $8.4 billion (equivalent to 3.8 percent of the country's GDP) in the third quarter of 2013, down from USD $9.8 billion (4.4 percent of GDP) in the second quarter.

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  • Bank Indonesia Expects Indonesia's Economy to Grow 5.7% in 2013

    Agus Martowardojo, Governor of Indonesia's central bank (Bank Indonesia), stated that the country's economy is expected to grow 5.7 percent in 2013. Bank Indonesia believes GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2013 to fall below the growth figure realized in Q3-2013 (5.62 percent). Martowardojo said that the government needs to continue measures to improve the country's exports, while trying to curtail imports of oil and gas as domestic demand for fuels remained high, even after the increase in prices of subsidized fuels in June 2013.

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Latest Columns Global Economy

  • Indonesia's Main Stock Index (IHSG): the Ship that is Rocked by a Storm

    For several weeks now, Indonesia's main stock index (IHSG) has been experiencing a sharp correction. As I wrote in my previous columns, market participants have been waiting for several important macro economic data, to wit Indonesia's economic growth figure for the second quarter of 2013, the July 2013 inflation rate, and the country's trade balance statistics for the first six months of this year. Now all above results have been released, we can analyze further the impact of these macroeconomic results as well as investors' reaction to it.

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  • Indonesia's Foreign Exchange Reserves Fall, Current Account Deficit Grows

    The foreign exchange reserves of Indonesia keep on falling from its historical peak of USD $124.64 billion in August 2011 to USD $92.67 billion at the end of July 2013. This development seems to highlight long-standing weaknesses in Indonesia's sovereign's external finances, as credit agency Fitch Ratings detected on several occasions before. The republic of Indonesia is currently characterized by four deficits, to wit a current account deficit, a balance of payments deficit, a trade balance deficit and a fiscal deficit.

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  • Despite Higher Idul Fitri Consumption, Indonesia May Not Reach GDP Target

    Although the holy fasting month of Ramadan and subsequent Idul Fitri celebrations always provide a boost for national economic growth in Indonesia as domestic consumption tends to peak, analysts believe that it will not contribute significantly to the government's 6.3 percent GDP growth target this year. During Ramadan and Idul Fitri (known as Lebaran), Indonesian consumers generally spend more on food products, clothes, shoes, tickets for transport and hotels than in other months, and thus lead to increased economic activity.

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  • Indonesia's Inflation Rate Accelerates to 3.29% in July 2013

    Indonesia’s inflation rate in July 2013 was significantly higher than analysts had previously estimated. The country’s July inflation figure accelerated to 3.29 percent. On year-on-year basis, it now stands at 8.61 percent, the highest inflation rate since many years. Particularly food commodity and transportation prices rose steeply. The main reason for Indonesia's high inflation is the reduction in fuel subsidies. In late June, the government increased the prices of subsidized fuels in order to relieve the ballooning budget deficit.

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  • Indonesian Crude Palm Oil Exports Surge 29% in June 2013

    Indonesian exports of crude palm oil (CPO) in June 2013 grew about 29 percent to 1.62 million ton compared to the same month last year. Although production of CPO in Indonesia slowed down in June, higher demand for Indonesia's CPO is met because there are still sufficient amounts of stockpiles. A high official at the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (Gapki) said that stockpiles in 2012 grew to 5 million tons as global demand for the commodity weakened sharply amid international economic turmoil.

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  • No Recovery in Palm Oil Price: Demand Weakens while Production Grows

    The recovery in global palm oil prices that seemed to have started last spring, has ended. A few months ago, optimism had colored expectations of many analysts as palm oil prices went up about 10 percent between early May and mid-June, after tumbling 30 percent in 2012 (causing that palm oil was one of the worst performing commodities in terms of price growth last year). However, the palm oil price increase earlier this year was merely the result of falling production rates in Indonesia and Malaysia, the world's largest palm oil producers.

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  • Bank Indonesia Raises Interest Rate to fight Inflation and Support the Rupiah

    Today, Bank Indonesia surprised many analysts and investors by raising its benchmark interest rate by 50 bps to 6.50 percent. Indonesia's central bank assessed that this measure is the correct one with regard to supporting the IDR rupiah (which is one of the worst Asian currencies against the US dollar this year) and to fight higher inflation after the government decided to cut fuel subsidies in June. It expects inflation to peak in July at about 2.3 percent (month to month) but to moderate soon afterwards.

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  • Indonesia Stock Exchange Falls Amid Domestic and International Concerns

    Indonesia Stock Market Analysis IHSG 13 June 2013 RMA van der Schaar - Richard van der Schaar

    On Thursday (13/06), Indonesia's main stock index (IHSG) could not continue the recovery it had shown on the previous day. The index fell 1.92% to 4,607.66 points amid international and domestic concerns. Investors are worried about central banks' policies and the World Bank's downgrade of global economic growth in 2013. On the domestic side, negative sentiments were brought on by the fuel subsidy issue (and its inflationary impact), the weakening rupiah, the BI rate hike, falling foreign exchange reserves, and the trade deficit.

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  • Records of Indonesia's and America's Indices Indicate Global Optimism

    Stock indices experienced a solid performance last week. In particular Indonesia's main stock index (IHSG) was up. Although Standards & Poor's downgrade of Indonesia's debt outlook has made many foreign investors decide to sell part of their Indonesian stock portfolios (last week about IDR 960 billion of foreign funds left the IHSG), the index did not fall. On the contrary, it reached a new record high level. So why did the index not fall? There are a number of reasons that explain this situation.

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  • Increased Foreign Investment in Indonesia's Stock Market in Quarter 1 - 2013

    Foreign investment in Indonesia has maintained its steady pace in the first quarter of 2013. Ahead of next year's presidential and legislative elections, which trigger uncertainties about the future course of the country, foreigners have bought more Indonesian stocks in Q1-2013 than in the four quarters of 2012 combined. Moreover, foreign direct investments (FDIs) have increased by 27 percent (YoY) in Q1-2013 and show an interesting shift towards Indonesia's manufacturing sector.

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