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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

  • Indonesia's IHSG Stock Index Falls Slightly on Wednesday amid Profit Taking

    Without any real negative global reasons, Indonesia's benchmark stock index (IHSG) was down 0.20 percent to 4,349.42 points. Apparently, market participants were looking for profit taking after the index rose sharply in the last couple of days. There may also have been the psychological influence of the gaps at 4,191-4,225 and 4,072-4,102 that still need to be closed. Will the IHSG close these? Compared to the general upward trend of Asian indices, it seems strange if the IHSG would deviate from this trend only to close the gaps.

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  • Indonesia Stock Market: Overview and Analysis of Last Week's Performance

    Although many global indices were up, Indonesia's benchmark stock index (IHSG) fell a total of 2.93 percent during last week's trading. One important issue on global indices is the tapering off of the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing (QE3). On 17 and 18 September, the next meeting of the FOMC is scheduled, which is expected to discuss the future of QE3. Notably, as the meeting comes closer, most global indices in fact rise. Thus, market players seem to have become less concerned about an end to QE3.

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  • Indonesia's IHSG Index Finishes Week with a 0.53% Rise

    Contrary to Thursday's trading day (05/09) when the benchmark stock index of Indonesia (IHSG) opened strong but ended in the red, on Friday (06/09) it was the other way round. The IHSG started negative but ended the day 0.53 percent up to 4,072.35 points. Factors that made a negative impact on the IHSG were the continueing fall of the rupiah as well as speculation that Indonesia's foreign exchange reserves would decline again at end-August. However, a number of rising Asian indices influenced the IHSG in a positive way.

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  • Indonesia's Benchmark Stock Index Fails to Join Rising Asian Indices

    Indonesia's Benchmark Stock Index Fails to Join Rising Asian Indices

    Indonesia's main stock index (IHSG) started rather well on Thursday's trading day (05/09) despite the fact that most analysts expected a weakening index. Positive market sentiments were triggered by rising Asian stock indices (brought on by yesterday's rising indices on Wall Street). However, as the rupiah continued its downward spiral, market players began to exit the market, thus resulting in the 0.55 percent fall of the IHSG to 4,050.86. Foreign investors were net sellers of Indonesian assets, while domestic players recorded a net purchase.

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  • Indonesia Stock Index Rebounds on Tuesday; Rupiah Depreciates

    Indonesia's benchmark stock index (IHSG) rebounded on Tuesday (03/09) amid rising Asian stock indices inflicted by optimism about economic recovery in China and the USA. The IHSG rose 1.53 percent to 4,164.12 points. Agribusiness and mining stocks were the top performers today, while the miscellaneous industry, which fell 0.09 percent, was the only sectoral index on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) that was down. The rupiah depreciated against the US dollar as investors are concerned about July's USD $2.3 billion current account deficit.

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  • Market Update: Eurozone Posts Good Data, USA Waiting for Decisions

    Most European stock indices rose sharply on Monday (02/09) as investors were happy to see favorable industrial data from China and the Eurozone. The benchmark stock indices in Paris, Frankfurt, London and Amsterdam climbed up to 1.8 percent. Trade was relatively quiet as Wall Street was closed due to Labor Day celebrations. However, it may be a 'calm before the storm' because on Friday (06/09) new official data about U.S. job creation will be released, while next week more clarity about a military operation in Syria is expected.

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  • Jakarta Composite Index Rebounds amid Rising Asian Indices

    Jakarta Composite Index Rebounds amid Rising Asian Indices

    Rising Asian stock indices from the start of the week have supported Indonesia's main stock index (IHSG) to follow suit on Tuesday (13/08). Despite mixed markets in the United States and Europe, the IHSG grew 1.19 percent to 4,652.40 points. Japan's Nikkei index, which weakened seriously after the country's disappointing Q2 GDP result, rebounded and had a positive impact on the IHSG. Lastly, positive European openings made sure the IHSG would stay in the green zone.

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  • Possible End to Quantitative Easing Will Impact on Emerging Economies

    Possible End to Quantitative Easing Will Impact on Emerging Economies

    Worldwide, most stock indices fell on Wednesday (07/08), particularly Japan's Nikkei index, after it has been speculated that the Federal Reserve may phase out the third round of its quantitative easing program in September 2013. This program, involving a monthly USD $85 billion bond-buying package, aims to spur US economic growth while keeping interest rates low. However, one important side effect has been rising stock markets around the globe. Now the end of QE3 is in sight, investors shy away from riskier assets.

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  • Indonesia's Benchmark Index (IHSG) Rises 1.88% on Tuesday

    Yesterday's rising indices on Wall Street, high expectations of companies' financial reports and positive statements regarding economic growth in China resulted in a good day at the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX). Indonesia's main stock index, the IHSG, rose 1.88 percent to 4,767.16 on Tuesday (23/07), even though technical indicators seemed to predict a weakening of the index. Also the continued fall of the Indonesian rupiah did not turn investors away from the market. In fact, foreign investors were net buyers of Indonesian stocks.

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  • Indonesia's Stock Index Ends Week in the Plus, while Asia Weakens

    Indonesia's main stock index (IHSG) ended the last trading day of this week in the plus. The index rose 0.08 percent to 4,724.41. The growth was limited because most Asian stocks fell as investors are looking for profit after a positive trading week. Global stock indices had a relatively good week after Ben Bernanke stated that the quantitative easing program (the Federal Reserve's monthly USD $85 billion bond-buying package), will continue as long as the US economy needs it, which gives rise to a low interest rate environment.

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