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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

  • Finance Minister Chatib Basri on Indonesia’s Economic Fundamentals

    Finance Minister Chatib Basri on Indonesia’s Economic Fundamentals

    Indonesian Finance Minister Chatib Basri said that the lower pace of economic growth in China, the world’s second-largest economy, is a major concern for Indonesia as it leads to declining demand for commodities (and thus places downward pressure on commodity prices). As Indonesia is a major commodity exporter - such as coal, crude palm oil, nickel ore and tin - the country feels the impact of weak global demand for commodities. About 60 percent of Indonesia’s exports are commodities, mostly raw ones.

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  • Bank Indonesia Press Release: Key Interest Rate Kept at 7.50%

    Bank Indonesia Press Release: Key Interest Rate Kept at 7.50%

    Bank Indonesia decided to hold the key interest rate (BI rate) at 7.50 percent in October, with the Lending Facility and Deposit Facility rates kept at 7.50 percent and 5.75 percent, respectively. This level is expected to help control inflation at 4.5±1 percent in 2014 and 4.0±1 percent in 2015, as well as to reduce the current account deficit to a more sustainable level. Despite stable domestic conditions, Bank Indonesia sees risks: contagion risk stemming from US monetary tightening and possible higher subsidized fuel prices.

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  • Indonesian Stocks Rebound but Rupiah Continues to Depreciate

    Technically the benchmark stock index of Indonesia (Jakarta Composite Index, or IHSG) had to rebound after sharp declines during the last couple of trading days making Indonesian stocks relatively cheap. The IHSG was also supported by rising stock indices in Japan and Hong Kong that rose on strong US jobs data (although other Asian markets fell due to concerns about sooner-than-expected US interest rate hikes. Meanwhile, the rupiah continued to depreciate as the market is concerned about the political situation in Indonesia.

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  • Performance of the Indonesian Rupiah & Stocks in the Past Week

    Performance of the Indonesian Rupiah & Stocks in the Past Week

    Amid political uncertainty and a looming increase in US interest rates, Indonesian stocks and the rupiah exchange rate weakened considerably in the past week. Market participants are increasingly concerned about the situation in Indonesia’s parliament where a majority of political parties - named the Merah-Putih coalition (led by defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto) - is expected to undermine president-elect Joko Widodo’s reform programs as well as the democratic foundations of the country.

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  • Indonesia’s House Approves 2015 State Budget; Budget Deficit 2.21% of GDP

    Indonesia’s House Approves 2015 State Budget; Budget Deficit 2.21% of GDP

    Indonesia’s House of Representatives (DPR) approved the 2015 State Budget on Monday (29/09) that was proposed by the outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono administration. The budget deficit is now set at IDR 245.9 trillion (USD $20.5 billion), equivalent to 2.21 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and lower than the 2.32 percent of GDP proposed by the government in both the Financial Memorandum and the Revised 2015 State Budget. However, the accepted budget deficit is still high compared to previous years.

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  • Federal Reserve & Indonesia: Limiting the Impact of Higher Interest Rates

    Federal Reserve & Indonesia: Limiting the Impact of Higher Interest Rates

    US Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen reminded global investors to prepare for a sooner-than-expected US interest rate hike (Fed Funds Rate, FFR) provided that the economy of the USA - the world’s largest economy - continues its improving trend. In fact, speculation has emerged that the FFR will be raised before the end of 2014 although Yellen stated more than once that the ‘close-to-zero’ interest rate environment would be maintained for a considerable period after the US bond-buying program (quantitative easing) has ended.

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  • Stocks & Rupiah Update Indonesia: Performance Today

    Stocks & Rupiah Update Indonesia: Performance Today

    In line with the trend on other Asian stock indices, the benchmark stock index of Indonesia (Jakarta Composite Index, abbreviated IHSG) fell on Monday (22/09) amid profit taking after three days of gains. Not even the appreciating rupiah exchange rate and net buying of foreign investors (IDR 26.6 billion) were able to push Indonesia’s index into the green zone. The IHSG declined 0.15 percent to 5,219.80 points. All sectors on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) fell except for the consumer goods and finance sectors.

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  • Financial Update Indonesia: Interest Rates, Fuel Subsidies & Inflation

    Financial Update Indonesia: Interest Rates, Fuel Subsidies & Inflation

    The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) will not lower its key interest rate (BI rate) until accelerated inflation (brought on by the looming subsidized fuel price hike at the end of the year) has eased and US interest rates are stable (the US Federal Reserve may raise its key interest rate in the second or third quarter of 2015). This implies that the relatively high interest rate environment in Indonesia (the key BI rate has been at 7.50 percent for almost a year) will continue (to safeguard financial stability) at the expense of higher economic growth.

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  • Performance of Indonesian Stocks Depends on Subsidized Fuel Policy

    Performance of Indonesian Stocks Depends on Subsidized Fuel Policy

    Indonesia’s fuel subsidy policy is estimated to have a large influence on investors’ confidence in the financial or fiscal fundamentals of Southeast Asia’s largest economy and thus on the performance of the local stock index and currency. New president elect Joko Widodo (popularly known as Jokowi) is expected to raise prices of subsidized fuels after taking office in late October 2014 in an attempt to combat the country’s wide current account deficit (mainly caused by expensive oil imports to meet domestic fuel demand).

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  • Update Indonesian Stocks: Rising on Fed Speculation & Chinese Stimulus

    The benchmark stock index of Indonesia (Jakarta Composite Index, abbreviated IHSG) closed 1.12 percent higher on Wednesday (17/09) supported by Tuesday’s positive stock indices on Wall Street as well as speculation that the US Federal Reserve will not raise its key interest rate yet. Today (17/09), the Federal Reserve will conclude its Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Lastly, after weak economic data, it was reported that China’s central bank (PBOC) injected USD $82 billion into the country's five largest banks.

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