Indonesian stockpiles of crude palm oil (CPO) in August 2014 may have reached the highest level in 15 months on increased production and reduced global demand. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, CPO stockpiles in Indonesia surged 24 percent to 2.5 million metric tons in August (from 2.02 million metric tons in the previous month). Meanwhile, Indonesian CPO production grew 19 percent to 2.55 million metric tons, while CPO exports declined 2.2 percent to 1.8 million metric tons. Bloomberg used data from five planters and one refiner.
Update COVID-19 in Indonesia: 70,736 confirmed infections, 3,417 deaths (9 July 2020)
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Today's Headlines Muhammad Lutfi
The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) expects to see a trade surplus in May 2014. Governor of Bank Indonesia Agus Martowardojo stated that he is optimistic that Indonesia’s trade balance will show positive growth after recording a shocking deficit of USD $1.96 billion in April 2014. This deficit was mainly the result of weak global demand for crude palm oil and coal, both of which are Indonesia’s most important foreign exchange earners in the non-oil & gas sector. However, this global demand is expected to have remained weak in May.
Both Indonesia's Ministry of Industry and Trade propose to impose a luxury goods sales tax (PPnBM) of 20 percent on all imported mobile phones. Previously, the Ministry of Industry said the new tax rule - if approved - would only apply to cellular phones with a price tag of at least IDR 5 million (USD $442). Now, however, all imported cell phones will be affected. This new tax policy aims to curb imports of mobile phones (thus impacting positively on the trade balance) and to support the development of a domestic mobile phone industry.
The government of Japan is most likely to file a complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) about Indonesia's recently introduced ban on the export of mineral ore (UU Minerba No. 4 - 2009). Although the WTO is yet to receive a formal letter of protest, Indonesian newspaper Investor Daily reported on Friday (04/04) that Trade Minister Muhammad Lutfi has already received a letter from Japan's Minister of Foreign Affairs in which the step was announced. Japan feels forced to bring the case to the WTO as its industry is affected by the ban.
Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will officially appoint Muhammad Lutfi as the new Trade Minister on Friday (14/02), thus replacing Gita Wirjawan who requested to step down as Trade Minister on 31 January 2014 in order to focus solely on his presidential bid. Muhammad Lutfi will only have eight months time to head the Trade Ministry because a new Indonesian government will be inaugurated in October (legislative and presidential elections are scheduled for April and July 2014).
Latest Columns Muhammad Lutfi
An important change will be made to the ministerial regulation that deals with the franchise businesses and traditional markets in Indonesia. Indonesian Trade Minister Muhammad Lutfi said that the government plans to adjust a retroactive clause formulated in Ministry of Trade Regulation No. 7 Year 2013 on Partnership Development in Franchise Business Services for Food and Beverages (Permendag Nomor 7). Initially this clause limited franchise ownership to a maximum of 250 outlets, forcing big franchisees to confirm to new requirement.
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