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Today's Headlines US Interest Rates

  • Indonesian Rupiah Starts Weaker as US Dollar Rises after Inflation Data

    The Indonesian rupiah started the new trading week on a negative note. By 10:45 am local Jakarta time, the rupiah had depreciated 0.17 percent to IDR 13,181 per US dollar according to the Bloomberg Dollar Index. The primary reason for this performance is that the US dollar has strengthened globally after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen stated that she is convinced that the world will see the first US interest rate hike in almost a decade before the end of the year (provided that US economic data continue to improve).

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  • Indonesian Stocks Up, Rupiah Weakens: Focus on Fed’s FOMC Minutes

    Indonesian stocks continued to rise one day after the country’s central bank (Bank Indonesia) announced to leave the interest rate policy unchanged and, instead, choosing to loosen its macro-prudential policy by revising the LDR-RR regulation, LTV policy for mortgage loans and down payments on automotive loans, hence increasing liquidity and boosting credit growth in the banking sector. Indonesia's rupiah, however, depreciated sharply after the market opened on Wednesday (20/05) due to the strong US dollar.

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  • Dilemma Bank Indonesia: To Cut Interest Rates or Not?

    Dilemma Bank Indonesia: To Cut Interest Rates or Not?

    The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) is currently dealing with a dilemma. On the one hand, its relatively high interest rate environment (with the benchmark BI rate at 7.50 percent) is partly responsible for the country’s slowing economic growth as credit expansion is curtailed and economic activity declines. On the other hand, Bank Indonesia’s high BI rate is needed to safeguard Indonesia’s financial stability as inflation is still above the central bank’s target, the current account deficit nearly unsustainable, and capital outflows loom.

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  • Stocks & Rupiah Update Indonesia: Mixed Signals Federal Reserve

    Indonesian stocks continued to fall today (30/04). After the first trading session, Indonesia’s benchmark Jakarta Composite Index fell 0.11 percent to 5,099.83 points. The index was negatively affected by yesterday’s weakening stock indices in the USA and Europe. These indices experienced a correction due to mixed signals stemming from the latest US Federal Reserve’s FOMC meeting. Contrary to its March policy statement, the Fed did not rule out hiking rates at the next meeting. However, it also downgraded the US growth outlook.

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  • World Bank Report: Latest East Asia Pacific Economic Update

    World Bank Report: Latest East Asia Pacific Economic Update

    In the latest edition of the East Asia Pacific Economic Update, released on Monday (13 April 2015), the World Bank revised down its economic growth forecast for developing East Asia & China to 6.7 percent year-on-year (y/y) in 2015 and 2016 from its previous assumption of 6.9 percent growth (y/y) in 2015 and 6.8 percent (y/y) in 2016. The main reason for this downward revision is the global uncertain economic context, which includes the impact of looming higher US interest rates and the appreciating US dollar.

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  • Bank Indonesia Used Foreign Exchange Reserves to Support Rupiah

    The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) announced that the country’s foreign exchange reserves fell by USD $3.9 billion to USD $111.6 billion at the end of March 2015 as the central bank used part of the forex reserves to support the Indonesian rupiah which had started to depreciate markedly due to bullish US dollar momentum amid further looming monetary tightening in the USA. The rupiah had fallen to a 17-year low of IDR 13,237 per US dollar in mid-March as market players are anticipating an interest rate hike in the USA.

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  • Stocks & Currency: Asian Emerging Markets Relieved after Fed Minutes

    Stocks & Currency: Asian Emerging Markets Relieved after Fed Minutes

    Minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest FOMC meeting (17-18 March), released Wednesday (08/04), show that the US central bank is divided about the timing of higher US interest rates. Several policymakers would approve such an interest rate hike in June 2015, while others would prefer to see rates increase later this year or even next year as they consider that the US economy is still not strong enough yet. However, when reading the minutes there are some signs suggesting that the institution is on course to raise its key rate this year.

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  • Indonesia Market Update: Why Stocks Go Up but the Rupiah Goes Down?

    Indonesia Market Update: Why Stocks Go Up but the Rupiah Goes Down?

    Indonesian stocks continued to climb strongly after the market opened on Tuesday (31/03). The country’s benchmark Jakarta Composite Index (IHSG) surged nearly one percent. Several external and internal factors are at play here. Firstly, the US Federal Reserve indicated over the past week that it may not raise its key interest rate too soon, leading to investors’ appetite for emerging market assets. Secondly, Chinese policymakers provided room for increased infrastructure spending and monetary stimulus.

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  • Indonesian Rupiah versus US Dollar; Factors at Play

    Indonesian Rupiah versus US Dollar; Factors at Play

    In the past couple of days the US dollar regained its bullish momentum, strengthening against most other currencies including the Indonesian rupiah. The greenback had been under pressure after the Federal Reserve signalled - contrary to markets expectation - it would not raise the US interest rate environment too soon as the US economic growth outlook and US inflation were still not at the right level yet. This made emerging market assets more attractive for the short-term. However, this development seems to have been short-lived.

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  • Indonesian Currency Update: Stronger Rupiah, Weaker US Dollar

    Indonesian Currency Update: Stronger Rupiah, Weaker US Dollar

    Indonesia’s rupiah exchange rate started the week on a firm tone as the US dollar weakened amid uncertainty over the timing of higher US interest rates. Contrary to initial expectation, the latest Federal Reserve meeting (held on 17-18 March) did not indicate that there will be a quick interest rate hike in the world’s largest economy hence boosting appetite for emerging market assets. In addition, the Indonesian government and central bank (Bank Indonesia) pledged to safeguard rupiah stability.

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Latest Columns US Interest Rates

  • Interest Rate Environment: Why Bank Indonesia Left it Unchanged?

    Interest Rate Environment: Why Bank Indonesia Left it Unchanged?

    Indonesia’s central bank (Bank Indonesia) decided to hold the country’s key interest rate (BI rate) at 7.50 percent, the deposit facility rate at 5.50 percent, and the lending facility rate at 8.00 percent at the Board of Governor’s Meeting conducted on Tuesday 17 March 2015. Bank Indonesia said that its decision is in line with its ongoing efforts to push inflation back to the target range of 4±1 percent for both 2015 and 2016, and to guide the country’s current account deficit towards a healthier level at 2.5-3 percent of GDP in the medium term.

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  • Bank Indonesia Lowers Key Interest Rate in Surprise Move

    In a surprise move, the central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) decided to lower its key interest rate (BI rate) by 25 basis points to 7.50 percent at the Board of Governor’s Meeting on Tuesday (17/02). The deposit facility rate (Fasbi) was also lowered by 25 basis points (to 5.50 percent), while the lending facility rate remained steady at 8.00 percent. In a press release the central bank stated that the current policy direction is estimated to moderate the country’s wide current account deficit further, while inflation remains under control.

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  • Indonesia’s Rupiah at 6-Year Low; Expected to Weaken until Mid-2015

    Indonesia’s Rupiah at 6-Year Low; Expected to Weaken until Mid-2015

    Amid weakening emerging Asian currencies, Indonesia’s rupiah exchange rate touched a six-year low on Friday (12/12) after US consumer spending rose in November while US jobless claims fell (signalling a strong recovery in the world’s largest economy). Based on the Bloomberg Dollar Index, the rupiah depreciated 0.95 percent to IDR 12,467 per US dollar on Friday. Besides the impact of the US dollar’s bullish momentum, the rupiah also weakened on year-end US dollar demand from local companies for debt payments.

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  • Rupiah Exchange Rate Update: Bank Indonesia Active in Market?

    Rupiah Exchange Rate Update: Bank Indonesia Active in Market?

    The Indonesian rupiah exchange rate depreciated 0.09 percent to IDR 12,164 per US dollar on Tuesday (25/11) according to the Bloomberg Dollar Index. The performance is caused by local companies’ month-end US dollar demand as well as US dollar buying by Indonesia’s central bank. Although unconfirmed, it is speculated that the central bank is boosting its foreign exchange reserves ahead of a looming external shock triggered by higher US interest rates in the second or third quarter of 2015.

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  • Financial Update: Foreign Debt of Indonesia Continues to Rise

    Total foreign outstanding debt of Indonesia continues to grow at a robust pace. Based on data from the country’s central bank, total external debt rose 11.2 percent year-on-year to USD $292 billion at the end of September 2014 as private Indonesian companies have been eager to seek lower interest rates abroad. Privately-held foreign debt was up 14 percent y/y to USD $159.3 billion at end-September. Central Bank official Tirta Segara said that private sector debt is concentrated in the financial, manufacturing and mining sectors.

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  • Current Account Balance Indonesia: Deficit of 3.07% of GDP in Q3-2014

    Current Account Balance Indonesia: Deficit of 3.07% of GDP in Q3-2014

    The current account deficit of Indonesia eased to USD $6.84 billion, or 3.07 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter of 2014 (down from USD $8.69 billion, or 4.07 percent of GDP in the previous quarter). This improvement was mainly supported by a solid surplus in the country’s non-oil & gas sector, partly the result of the US economic recovery as well as resumed copper concentrate exports by Freeport Indonesia and Newmont Nusa Tenggara (after successful mining contract renegotiations).

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  • Stocks & Rupiah Today: Performance of the Jakarta Composite Index

    Stocks & Rupiah Today: Performance of the Jakarta Composite Index

    Although we initially expected that the benchmark stock index of Indonesia (Jakarta Composite Index, abbreviated IHSG) would be supported by the various macroeconomic data (inflation, trade balance, and manufacturing activity) that were released by Statistics Indonesia today, the opposite is what happened. The index went into red territory amid profit taking, although the bond market in fact strengthened and foreign investors recorded net buying at IDR 224 billion (USD $18.7 million).

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  • Bank Indonesia Forces Companies to Hedge Foreign Debt

    Bank Indonesia Forces Companies to Hedge Foreign Debt

    Non-bank corporations in Indonesia that hold external (foreign-denominated) debt will be forced to hedge their foreign exchange holdings against the Indonesian rupiah with a ratio of 20 percent in the period 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015 in an effort to limit risks stemming from increased private sector external debt. At end-August 2014, privately-held foreign debt stood at USD $156.2 billion (53.8 percent of the country’s total external debt), increasing three-fold from end-2005 and thus jeopardizing macroeconomic stability.

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  • Market’s Lukewarm Reception of Joko Widodo’s ‘Kabinet Kerja Indonesia’

    The market showed today (27/10) that the composition of Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s cabinet did not live up to expectations. On Sunday afternoon, Widodo had announced the names of the ministers inside his Working Cabinet (Kabinet Kerja) after having delayed the announcement for almost a week as several of his ministerial candidates needed to be replaced having been red flagged by the country’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). This then heightened expectations that Widodo’s cabinet would constitute a ‘dream team’.

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  • Moody’s Investors Service Positive about Indonesia’s Economy

    Moody’s Investors Service Positive about Indonesia’s Economy

    Global credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service stated that it maintains a stable outlook for Indonesia’s sovereign and corporate debt rating in the next quarters due to the country’s healthy credit fundamentals, solid macroeconomy, and reduced political tensions. Moody’s believes that Indonesia’s fundamentals are strong enough to offset the negative impact of external pressures such as looming higher US interest rates and slowing economic growth in China. Moody’s had raised Indonesia’s sovereign debt rating to investment grade in late 2011.

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