Below is a list with tagged columns and company profiles.

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 Main Stock Index (IHSG) Continues its Fall on Tuesday

    For three consecutive days, Indonesia's main stock index (IHSG) had to cope with significant losses. On Tuesday (11/06), the index fell 3.50 percent to 4,609.95 points, considerably below its record high level of 5,214 on 20 May 2013. Foreign investors recorded a net sell of IDR 3.98 trillion (USD $406.1 million) as domestic conditions in Indonesia are unstable. Moreover, investors are concerned about governments (USA and Japan) that want to slow down their stimulus programs as various economic data are showing positive outcomes.

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  • Last Week of May: Continued Upward Movement or a Correction?

    Throughout the month of May, the level of volatility of Indonesia's main stock index (IHSG) has been remarkable and interesting. At the start of the month we were shocked by Standard & Poor's downgrade of Indonesia's credit rating outlook as well as Moody's warning to take similar measures as Indonesia had been slow to deal with its subsidized fuel policy. These issues were able to drag the index down. Moreover, the threat of higher inflation triggers concerns that the index would show its traditional fall in the month of May.

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  • High, Higher, Highest? An Overview of the Performance of Indonesia's IHSG

    Last week, Indonesia's main stock index (IHSG) moved remarkably well. The index managed to set a new record high at 5145.68 points on Friday (17/05/13) as it was pushed up by its strongest pillar of support, the consumer sector. Indonesia's consumer sector rose as much as 8.23 percent last week, while the largest obstacle to growth was the country's mining sector, which experienced a correction of 3.31 percent. What are the underlying reasons of last week's gain towards yet another record high? And is it sustainable?

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  • Import-Export Trade and Investment between USA and Indonesia

    Although the United States continues its traditional focus on direct investments in developed countries, primarily in Western Europe, there has been a significant rise in US investments in Indonesia in recent years. Whereas US investments in the developed economies of Western Europe is mostly found in the financial sector and through holding companies, in developing Asia, the US is more focused on the manufacturing sector due to lower production costs. In the last two years, the US emerged as the second-largest investor in Indonesia after Japan.

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  • The Influence of S&P's Outlook Downgrade on the Indonesia Stock Index (IHSG)

    The Jakarta composite index (IHSG), Indonesia's main stock index, was mixed last week. During the week it lost 53 points or 1.04 percent to finish at the level of 4,925.48. A number of blue chips, such as Bank Mandiri and Astra International, were hit by large sell-offs as the downgrade of S&P's debt outlook for Indonesia's BB+ rating kicked in and triggered serious negative market sentiments. Last week, I already discussed the 'Bloody May' phenomenon, the month that usually results in a correction.

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  • Amid Global Negative Sentiments Indonesia's Main Index (IHSG) Falls 0.32%

    On Friday's trading day, the Indonesia Stock Index (IHSG) started in an upward direction. However, as it felt the impact of European stock indices, that mostly opened lower, the IHSG weakened 0.32 percent to 4,978.51 points. Moreover, most other Asian indices were down (except for Hong Kong's HSI) and thus contributed to the IHSG's fall. Market participants also seem to fear the annual 'May Cycle' of the IHSG, which involves the traditional large-scale selling of IHSG stocks.

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  • Domestic and Foreign Direct Investment in Indonesia Grows Strong in Q1-2013

    Foreign Direct investment in Indonesia Investments

    In Quarter I 2013 (January-March), total investment in Indonesia increased 30.6 percent to IDR 93.0 trillion (US $9.58 billion) compared to the same period in 2012 according to data from the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (Badan Koordinasi Penanaman Modal, abbreviated BKPM), a government institution. Of this total amount, about seventy percent is accounted for by foreign direct investment, while the remaining thirty percent constitutes domestic direct investment.

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  • Amid Mixed Markets the Indonesia Stock Index Gains 1.04 Percent

    Most of us expected the Jakarta composite index (IHSG) to weaken on Tuesday 16 April 2013 amid mixed Asian stock indices and significantly weakened American and European indices on Monday (that responded to reports about both China's slowing economic growth and weak economic figures of America). Moreover, bomb explosions at the finish line of the marathon of Boston were expected to complicate the performance of the IHSG. But concerns turned out in vain.

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  • World Bank: Developing East Asia and Pacific is an Engine of Global Growth

    The latest World Bank report of East Asia and the Pacific states that "driven by strong domestic demand, economies of developing East Asia and Pacific continue to be an engine of global growth, growing at 7.5 percent in 2012 - higher than any other region in the world." Amid a recovering global economy the report projects that regional growth will rise to 7.8 percent in 2013 and ease to 7.6 percent in 2014.

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  • Why Will the Jakarta Composite Index Have Another Volatile Week?

    Last week, I discussed the composition of the ten largest Indonesian companies by market capitalization. For this week's column I have decided to zoom in on the performance of Indonesia's main stock index (IHSG), which has been highly volatile in the last week. It seems like its trend for the upcoming short-term has changed from an upward into a sideward trend. While the Dow Jones Index has been setting new records, the IHSG is showing some signs of fatigue.

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