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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

  • Gold Miners Ready for Major Moves

    Gold Miners Ready for Major Moves

    As stock markets continue to trade near precarious highs and an underlying current of geopolitical uncertainty continues to limit the outlook for equities in 2019, it is not entirely surprising to see going prices rallying. Indeed, this has been our price forecast for several weeks. But the confirmation of these forecasts came as the result of new evidence indicating weakness in US labor markets and rising expectations that the Federal Reserve will be forced to reduce interest rates more than previously anticipated. 

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  • Indonesia Condemns US' Recognition of Jerusalem as Capital of Israel

    Indonesia Condemns US' Recognition of Jerusalem as Capital of Israel

    Across the world, leaders express criticism on US President Donald Trump's decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel. Moreover, Trump announced that the American embassy is to be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. While Trump claims that these decisions constitute a step to advance the peace process and emphasizes that the US will continue to facilitate the peace process between both sides, fierce criticism unleashed following Trump's statements.

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  • 30th ASEAN Summit Shows the Rising Influence of China in Asia

    30th ASEAN Summit Shows the Rising Influence of China in Asia

    Now the United States - under the Donald Trump administration - are focused on their "America First" policy, China is able to increase its influence in the Asian region. This was apparent at the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit on April 26-29 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City where regional leaders expressed their support for the denuclearization of North Korea but were reluctant to discuss the tensions around the South China Sea.

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  • Working on a Bilateral Trade Agreement between Indonesia-USA

    Working on a Bilateral Trade Agreement between Indonesia-USA

    The Indonesian government is currently studying the opportunities and challenges with regard to the making of a new bilateral trade deal with the USA. These efforts are a side-effect of US Vice President Mike Pence's recent visit to Indonesia when he signed 11 trade and investment deals worth a combined USD $10 billion.

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  • Diplomatic & Trade Relations Indonesia: US VP Pence Met Jokowi

    Diplomatic & Trade Relations Indonesia: US VP Pence Met Jokowi

    Mike Pence, the Vice President of the United States, visited Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Thursday morning (20/04) at the presidential palace in Jakarta as part of Pence's Asia-Pacific tour (15-25 April 2017). Main goals of Pence's visit to several Asia-Pacific nations are to enhance diplomatic relations, improve regional security cooperation, and seek fairer trade. Pence arrived in Jakarta on Wednesday evening, directly from Japan where he emphasized US commitment to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions.

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  • Trump's USA Leaves Trans-Pacific Deal, Room for Indonesia & China?

    Trump's USA Leaves Trans-Pacific Deal, Room for Indonesia & China?

    As promised US President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an ambitious free trade deal that was signed in October 2015 (after five years of negotiating) and had created the world's largest free trade area (covering 12 countries and 40 percent of global trade). Trump's move to withdraw the USA from the TPP implies that he distances the USA from its Asian allies and gives China the opportunity to fill in the empty space that is left by America.

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  • Difficulties for Indonesia to Join the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    Difficulties for Indonesia to Join the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    Indonesia has always been hesitant to join free-trade deals with other nations on fears that domestic industries cannot compete with foreign counterparts, which could lead to an influx of cheaper, yet higher-quality foreign products. During his visit to the White House, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Indonesia intends to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. Back home, this statement led to concern. What are the negative consequences for Indonesia when joining this deal?

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  • Studying Abroad More Expensive for Indonesians as Rupiah Weakens

    Studying Abroad More Expensive for Indonesians as Rupiah Weakens

    Indonesia's heavily depreciated rupiah makes it more difficult for Indonesians to study abroad or to send their children to universities abroad without having the financial aid in the form of a scholarship. For those that are thinking of making such a decision, they need to take into account the performance of the Indonesian rupiah as well as the inflation outlook in the country of destination. So far in 2015, the Indonesian rupiah has depreciated 18 percent against the US dollar, 9 percent against the euro, 14 percent against China's yuan, and 2.4 percent against the Australian dollar.

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  • Stocks & Rupiah Indonesia: Inflation and US GDP Cause Mixed Performance

    Stocks & Rupiah Indonesia: Inflation and US GDP Cause Mixed Performance

    On the first trading day of the new week, both Indonesian stocks and the rupiah moved more-or-less sideways. Generally, indices in Southeast Asia were mixed as positive external sentiments were offset by local negative sentiments. In the case of Indonesia, negative local sentiments stemmed from the higher-than-estimated inflation figure in May and continued contraction of the manufacturing industry. Positive market sentiments stemmed from the USA where GDP growth was revised to minus 0.7 percent in Q1-2015.

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