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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

  • New Week Starts with Strong Indonesian Rupiah and Climbing IHSG

    At the start of the new week, Indonesia's benchmark stock index (Jakarta Composite Index or IHSG) was able to continue to climb, supported by positive Asian indices. Today, investors took advantage of discounted stocks in Asia as markets had fallen after the Federal Reserve's announcement last week that the quantitative easing program would be wound down further as well as a possible US interest rate hike in 2015 and 2016. However, the IHSG was also vulnerable to profit taking. Therefore, today's gain was limited.

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  • Further US Tapering and Looming Interest Rate Hike Impact on Indonesia

    The US Federal Reserve's plan to increase interest rates is a serious threat to the stock and bonds markets of emerging markets, including Indonesia, in 2014. The higher Fed Fund rate will result in a high cost bonds-climate in Indonesia. The Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday (19/03) that it continues to cut its quantitative easing program (QE3) by USD $10 billion in March 2014 as well as aims for an interest rate hike six months after the 'tapering' has ended. With the current pace, QE3 is expected to end in December 2014.

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  • Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index Climbs 0.33% on Wednesday

    We expected that Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index (the country's benchmark stock index also known as IHSG) would continue to weaken on Wednesday's trading day (19/03) but net buying by foreign investors managed to push the index back into green territory. During the first two days of this week, the IHSG fell as euphoria over Joko Widodo's announcement to run for president in the 2014 elections faded. Last week, the market showed that they approve of Widodo as the IHSG climbed 3.23 percent on Friday (14/03).

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  • Indonesia's Stock Index down on Profit Taking as Jokowi Effect has Worn off

    Jakarta Composite Index down on Profit Taking as Jokowi Effect has Worn off

    Previously we were hoping that if global stock indices would turn positive, it could limit the fall of Indonesia's benchmark stock index (Jakarta Composite Index or IHSG) as the 'Jokowi effect' has definately worn off. On Tuesday (18/03), investors continued to engage in profit taking causing the IHSG to plunge 1.45 percent to 4,805.61 points. While most Asian indices were up, influenced by rising indices on Wall Street and in Europe on the previous trading day (17/03), the IHSG deviated sharply from the Asian trend today.

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  • Most Asian Currencies Down against USD but Indonesian Rupiah Appreciates

    Although immediately plunging 0.33 percent to IDR 11,478 per US dollar after its opening on Monday (10/03), the Indonesian rupiah exchange rate had appreciated 0.57 percent to IDR 11,375 per US dollar by 14:00 local Jakarta time (Bloomberg Dollar Index). The rupiah's performance today is in sharp contrast with other Asian currencies. As US nonfarm payrolls increased more than expected and Chinese exports fell sharply (18.1 percent year-on-year) in February 2014, the US dollar appreciated against most Asian currencies.

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  • Reduced Capital Injections Can Hurt Financial Stability Emerging Economies

    Reduced Capital Injections Can Hurt Financial Stability Emerging Economies

    According to the World Bank, a sharp dismantling of capital injections by the central banks can lead to a 80 percent reduction of capital inflows into the emerging economies, including Indonesia. This can cause serious damage or even a crisis situation in an emerging market because capital flows to these countries are more triggered by global factors than domestic ones. The winding down of the Federal Reserve's bond-buying program (quantitative easing) has been gradual for now but if interest rates rise quickly it can hurt emerging economies.

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  • January 2014 Tapering Has Euphoric Effect on Global Stock Markets

    Fed's January 2014 Tapering Has Euphoric Effect on Global Stock Markets

    On Wednesday (18/12), the Federal Reserve announced to slightly scale back its quantitative easing program starting from January 2014. The reduction of the bond-buying program involves USD $5 billion of mortgage-backed securities and USD $5 billion of US treasury securities. Thus, the Federal Reserve will purchase a total of USD $75 billion worth of bonds per month instead of the current pace of USD $85 billion. For the moment, this policy change has an euphoric effect on global stock markets.

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  • Indonesia’s Stock Index (IHSG) Up on US Economic Data on Tuesday

    Wall Street, which was up on Monday (16/12) supported by various economic data, managed to support Asian stock indices on Tuesday (17/12), including Indonesia’s benchmark stock index (IHSG). Investors were back and ready to trade on the Indonesia Stock Exchange. As usual, the big cap stocks were highly popular. The rupiah’s Bank Indonesia mid-rate, which improved slightly, also contributed to the good performance of the IHSG today. The index rose 1.37 percent to 4,182.35 points.

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  • Indonesia Rupiah Exchange Rate Today: Volatile Movement on Tuesday

    Throughout the morning, the Indonesia rupiah exchange rate showed volatile movement on Tuesday (10/12). In the Bloomberg Dollar Index, the currency was up 0.45 percent to IDR 11,920 per US dollar at 16:20:51 local Jakarta time. The rupiah's performance is volatile because negative sentiments are brought on by improving economic data from the USA, causing a strengthening US dollar, while positive market sentiments are brought on by the new fiscal policies that were announced by the Indonesian government.

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  • Indonesia Stock Index Up but Rupiah Exchange Rate Down on Tuesday

    Indonesia's benchmark stock index (the Jakarta Composite Index or IHSG) continued yesterday's rise on today's trading day (10/12), supported by indices on Wall Street that climbed due to the lower VIX index (Chicago Board Options Exchange Market Volatility Index) although Asia's stock indices were mixed, while the Indonesia rupiah exchange rate continued its decline. Indonesia's manufacturing stocks were up along with consumer, automotive and processed foods stocks.

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