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Today's Headlines USA

  • World Bank Alerts Indonesia on Tighter External Financing in 2015

    World Bank Alerts Indonesia on Tighter External Financing in 2015

    Despite slowing economic growth in China (the world’s second-largest economy), the World Bank forecasts higher economic growth for emerging markets in 2015 driven by a decline in global oil prices, a stronger US economy, and continued low global interest rates. The World Bank expects to see a 4.8 percent year-on-year (y/y) GDP growth rate in emerging markets this year, up from an estimated 4.4 percent (y/y) in 2014. Meanwhile, the global economy is expected to grow 3 percent (y/y) in 2015.

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  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) Report: Growth Forecasts Asia Revised

    In its latest report entitled ‘Growth Hesitates in Developing Asia’ (which is a supplement to the ‘Asian Development Outlook 2014 Update’), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) slightly downgraded economic growth in developing Asia to 6.1 percent (y/y) in 2014 from its September estimate of 6.2 percent (y/y). Despite slowing momentum the ADB believes that current low oil prices constitute a great opportunity for Asian countries to conduct structural reforms as many of these countries are net oil importers.

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  • Crude Palm Oil (CPO) Exports from Indonesia Sluggish on Weak Demand

    Exports of crude palm oil (CPO) and CPO derived products from Indonesia in the first nine months of 2014 only reached 15 million tons, down 1.75 percent from the same period last year. The main cause for this disappointing performance is slowing economic growth in China and India resulting in reduced palm oil demand from these two giant economies. As a result of weak global demand, the CPO price has fallen to an average price of USD $712 per ton in September 2014, down 5.4 percent from the previous month.

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  • Indonesia Files Complaint to WTO over Australia’s Plain Packaging Act

    Indonesia and four other countries have filed an official complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over a recent new law in Australia. This law (‘2011 Tobacco Plain Packaging Act’), in effect since 1 December 2012, requires the removal of all branding (such as colours, imagery, and corporate logos) on cigarette packages. Indonesia’s Trade Ministry believes that the law violates several WTO rules, such as an agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights and an agreement on the technical barriers to trade.

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  • Federal Reserve Maintains US Interest Rates at Near Zero Levels

    Despite some concern about inflation, the US Federal Reserve stated that it will keep interest rates close to zero. The central bank announced this after the two-day policy meeting (Federal Open Market Committee, FOMC). Ahead of the meeting, market participants had increasingly speculated about the chance of sooner-than-expected US interest rate hikes as US economic data has generally been positive (including 4.2 percent GDP growth in the second quarter and weekly jobless claims that declined to near record lows).

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  • Indonesian Rupiah Exchange Rate Update: Down Ahead of FOMC Meeting

    Ahead of the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, the Indonesian rupiah exchange rate depreciated 1.26 percent to IDR 11,971 per US dollar based on the Bloomberg Dollar Index on Monday (15/09). Indonesia’s currency depreciated sharply ahead of the FOMC’s two-day meeting as investors are awaiting for the results on Thursday. As August US retail sales rose at the fastest pace in four months, a winding down of the US bond-buying program and looming US interest rates have resulted in a strong US dollar.

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  • El Niño Looms: Palm Oil Exports from Indonesia Expected to Decline in 2014

    The Agriculture Ministry of Indonesia expects that domestic production of palm oil in 2014 will decline 10 percent (roughly two million tons) from last year due to the possible impact of the El Niño weather cycle in the second half of this year. El Niño is a weather phenomenon that occurs once every 5 years on average and involves periodical warm ocean water temperatures off the western coast of South America. This can cause climatic changes across the Pacific Ocean, impacting on the global commodities market.

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  • Indonesian Rupiah Exchange Rate Update: Down on US Economic Data

    Although the Indonesia stock exchange as well as most businesses are still closed on Friday (01/08) amid Idul Fitri celebrations, trading in the Indonesian rupiah resumed after a four-day holiday. Impacted by developments in the USA, the Indonesian rupiah exchange rate had depreciated 1.82 percent to IDR 11,791 per US dollar by 12:25 pm local Jakarta time (based on Bloomberg Index). Asian currencies are heading for the largest weekly decline since June 2014 after US economic data indicate improved economic recovery of the USA.

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  • US Economy Grows 4% in Q2-2014 amid Improved Consumer Spending

    US gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the second quarter of 2014 expanded 4 percent year-on-year (yoy), thus having nearly doubled from the GDP growth pace in the first quarter (2.1 percent yoy) when the USA was hit by severe winter weather. The US economic growth pace in Q2-2014 also exceeded analysts' forecasts who expected US GDP growth to range between 2 and 2.5 percent. Strong growth was caused by improved US consumer spending (expanding 2.5 percent and contributing over two-thirds to total economic activity in the USA).

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  • US Economy Improves; Federal Reserve Expected to Continue Tapering

    While some investors hope that the European Central Bank will enhance monetary easing by pumping more funds in the economy, the Federal Reserve is expected to continue monetary tightening. On 29-30 July, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets and probably reduce the bond-buying program (quantitative easing) by another chunk of USD $10 billion to USD $25 billion in August. Since the start of 2014 when the Fed bought USD $85 billion worth of bonds per month, the program has been wound down amid an improving US economy.

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Latest Columns USA

  • Jakarta Composite Index: What is Next for Indonesian Stocks?

    Jakarta Composite Index: What is Next for Indonesian Stocks?

    Stock markets in Indonesia have been particularly volatile in recent weeks, and this has left many investors wondering about whether or not the rally that started last October is still viable and ready to continue. Last month, the MSCI Indonesia Index (which trades under the stock symbol EIDO) took a large drop - from well above the 6,500 mark to below 6,000. From a percentage perspective, a move like this can generate significant losses for those that bought into Indonesian stocks while they were still at elevated levels.

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  • IMF Downgrades Global Economic Growth, China at 24-Year Low

    There was few good news from a global economic perspective as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) sharply cut its outlook for global economic growth in the next two years. According to the IMF, global economic growth will only reach 3.5 percent (y/y) in 2015 and 3.7 percent in 2016 due to poorer prospects in China, Russia, the Eurozone, and Japan. Economic growth of China (the world’s second-largest economy) fell to a 24-year low at 7.4 percent year-on-year (y/y) in 2014, below the government target of 7.5 percent (y/y).

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  • US Investments in Indonesia: American Companies Eager to Invest

    A total of 35 American companies are interested to invest a combined USD $61 billion in Indonesia over the next five years according to a survey conducted by the Paramadina Public Policy Institute, the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia (AmCham Indonesia), the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo), and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin Indonesia). These 35 US companies have already invested a total of USD $65 billion in Indonesia over the period 2004 to 2012.

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  • IMF & World Bank about Global Economic Growth and Indonesia

    IMF & World Bank about Global Economic Growth and Indonesia

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) slightly cut its outlook for global economic expansion for both 2014 and 2015. The institution decided to lower its forecast due to weaker growth in Japan, Latin America and Europe. According the IMF’s latest estimate, the global economy will grow 3.3 percent year-on-year (y/y) in 2014, down from its previous estimate of 3.4 percent y/y, and 3.8 percent y/y in 2015 (down from 4.0 percent y/y in its July estimate). This is the third time this year that the IMF has had to cut its global economic growth forecast.

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  • Stock Market Update Indonesia: Down on Politics and Global Data

    Indonesian stocks plunged considerably on Thursday (02/10). The country’s benchmark stock index (Jakarta Composite Index, abbreviated IHSG) declined 2.73 percent to 5,000.81 points, the largest drop in almost six months. This poor performance was caused by both external and internal factors. Externally, various weak economic data from the USA and Europe as well as an appreciating yen impacted negatively on Asian stock indices. Internally, market participants responded negatively toward the inauguration of the new parliament.

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  • Indonesian Stocks Down on Profit Taking; Rupiah Up on Court Decision

    The benchmark stock index of Indonesia (Jakarta Composite Index, abbreviated IHSG) fell 0.14 percent to 5,198.90 points on the last trading day of the week, the first day of decline in five trading days, as investors engaged in profit taking after Indonesia’s Constitutional Court confirmed the official election result of the General Elections Commission (KPU) that announced Joko Widodo as winner of the July 2014 presidential election. Next week investors may continue profit taking as the index is still overbought.

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  • Indonesian Stocks & Rupiah Exchange Rate Surge on Jokowi Rebound

    Although Asian stock indices tended to decline on Monday’s trading day (07/07) due to profit taking amid expectation that corporate earnings in the first half of 2014 are disappointing, the benchmark stock index of Indonesia (known as Jakarta Composite Index or IHSG) performed remarkably well as foreign investors recorded net buying and the Indonesian rupiah exchange rate appreciated sharply. The main reason why markets were positive in Indonesia on Monday was the strong performance of Joko Widodo in Saturday’s presidential debate.

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  • Rupiah Down but Indonesian Stocks Overcome Weak Economic Data

    Rupiah Down but Indonesian Stocks Overcome Weak Economic Data

    Although initially the benchmark stock index of Indonesia (known as Jakarta Composite index or IHSG) fell after the market responded to today's release of Indonesia's April trade deficit and May inflation, the index ended in the green zone due to foreign net buying and general positive Asian indices (influenced by higher stock indices on Wall Street at the end of last week). Particularly Indonesia's big cap stocks in the miscellaneous industry and consumer sectors were popular as these were relatively cheap after having tumbled at the end of last week.

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  • Jakarta Composite Index Declines 1.84% on US Contraction in Q1-2014

    Asian stocks declined on Friday's trading day (30/05) after a government report showed that the US economy - the world's largest economy - shrank by one percent (year-on-year) in the first quarter of 2014, the country's first contraction since early 2011. The contraction was far worse than the initial forecast at 0.1 percent. The main cause of the contraction was the severe winter that hit the USA. The benchmark stock index of Indonesia (Jakarta Composite Index) fell 1.84 percent to 4,893.91 points on Friday (30/05).

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  • Contrary to Most Emerging Currencies, Indonesian Rupiah Depreciates

    On Wednesday (26/03), most emerging Asian currencies appreciated against the US dollar as the region's shares hit a two-week high on upbeat US economic data in combination with reduced concern over the crisis in Crimea (Ukraine). However, the Indonesian rupiah exchange rate was one of the exceptions to this trend on today's trading day. Based on the Bloomberg Dollar Index, the rupiah had depreciated 0.16 percent to IDR 11,412 at 16:15 local Jakarta time. Meanwhile, the Chinese yuan recovered some of its earlier losses.

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