In the first three monthly policy meetings this year (January-March) the central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) cut borrowing costs by a total of 75 basis points. Indonesia's benchmark interest rate (BI rate) was cut from 7.50 percent at the year-start to 6.75 percent at Thursday's Board of Governors' meeting. The overnight deposit facility rate and lending facility rate were also cut by 75 basis points, each, in the first three months. The lower interest rate environment in Indonesia signals that the financial fundamentals are strong. This is partly reason behind strong inflows of foreign capital into Southeast Asia's largest economy.
Update COVID-19 in Indonesia: 365,240 confirmed infections, 12,617 deaths (19 October 2020)
19 October 2020 (closed)
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The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) expects further monetary easing in the Eurozone to cause more capital inflows into emerging markets (including Indonesia). The European Central Bank (ECB) surprised financial markets last week by cutting interest rates to zero percent, expand its money printing program (quantitative easing) and reduce a key deposit rate further into negative territory (per 16 March 2016). These moves are done in an effort to revive the economy of the Eurozone and combat deflation.
Indonesia's economic growth in the first quarter of 2016 could reach 5 percent (or more) year-on-year provided that the government manages to optimize spending on infrastructure projects and improve people's purchasing power. Large drops in domestic car and motorcycle sales so far this year show that Indonesia's purchasing power remains bleak. Other indicators - such as cement and retail sales - are also not too strong. Firmanzah, economist at the Paramadina University, said the 0.09 percent (m/m) deflation that occurred in February could be a sign of further weakening purchasing power.
The Indonesian rupiah has become the center of attention being the strongest emerging market currency (tracked by Bloomberg) so far this year. Indonesia's currency has appreciated 4.97 percent (spot market) against the US dollar since the start of 2016, outperforming the Brazilian real and Malaysian ringgit. Meanwhile, Indonesian government and central bank officials say they are committed to encourage further strengthening of the rupiah. On Friday (04/03), Bank Indonesia's benchmark rupiah rate (Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate, abbreviated JISDOR) appreciated 0.76 percent to IDR 13,159 per US dollar.
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US Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen reminded global investors to prepare for a sooner-than-expected US interest rate hike (Fed Funds Rate, FFR) provided that the economy of the USA - the world’s largest economy - continues its improving trend. In fact, speculation has emerged that the FFR will be raised before the end of 2014 although Yellen stated more than once that the ‘close-to-zero’ interest rate environment would be maintained for a considerable period after the US bond-buying program (quantitative easing) has ended.
The Federal Reserve, central banking system of the United States, expects that the current economic recovery of the USA is set to continue. In the minutes of the latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, held at end-October 2013, it is mentioned that within the next few months the Federal Reserve can start winding down its monthly USD $85 billion stimulus program (known as quantitative easing). The next FOMC meeting, which will shed more light on the future of the bond-buying program, is scheduled for December 2013.
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