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Today's Headlines US Interest Rates

  • Joko Widodo & Jusuf Kalla Propose Higher GDP Growth & Stronger Rupiah

    Newly elected presidential pair Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and running mate Jusuf Kalla, the pair that will guide Indonesia for the next five years starting from October 2014, propose to raise the target for economic growth in Southeast Asia’s largest economy from 5.6 percent to 5.8 percent in 2015. Furthermore, the pair would like to set a stronger average rupiah rate at IDR 11,600 per US dollar over 2015 (from IDR 11,900 as set in the Revised 2015 State Budget). Several reasons are behind these ambitious targets.

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  • What Impacted on the Indonesian Rupiah Exchange Rate this Week?

    The Indonesian rupiah exchange rate was relatively stagnant on Friday (15/08). Based on the Bloomberg Dollar Index, the currency of Southeast Asia’s largest economy had depreciated 0.01 percent to IDR 11,680 per US dollar at 15:40 pm local Jakarta time. At the start of the day, the rupiah depreciated as market players were waiting for incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s state speech ahead of the country’s Independence Day on 17 August. Afterwards, the rupiah gained in line with the performance of other Asian currencies.

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  • Bank Indonesia Expected to Keep Key Interest Rate (BI Rate) at 7.50%

    The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia, BI) is expected to keep its benchmark interest rate (BI rate) at 7.50 percent at Thursday’s Board of Governors’ Meeting (14/08) as inflation has eased to 4.53 percent (year on year) in July while the country’s current account deficit may nearly double in the second quarter of 2014 to four percent of gross domestic product (GDP) from 2.06 percent of GDP in the previous quarter. Most analysts expect that Bank Indonesia will maintain the current BI rate for the remainder of 2014.

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  • Despite Slowing GDP Growth and Trade Deficit, Indonesian Rupiah Appreciates

    Despite the release of slowing Q2-2014 GDP growth as well as the June 2014 trade deficit, the Indonesian rupiah exchange rate appreciated 0.53 percent to IDR 11,698 against the US dollar according to the Bloomberg Dollar Index on Tuesday (05/08). This performance of Indonesia’s currency is in line with the performance of other emerging Asian currencies on today’s trading day. The US dollar weakened against almost all these currencies as lower US yields made investors decide to search for higher returns in Asia.

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  • Foreign Banks in Indonesia Post Large Profit on Rupiah Depreciation

    According to data from the Financial Services Authority (OJK), foreign banks operating in Indonesia have posted great profit growth in the January to May 2014 period. Combined, these foreign banks have recorded a 94.36 percentage point growth (year-on-year) in profit to IDR 3.79 trillion (USD $323.9 million) in the first five months of this year. The reason behind this jump in profit is the sharply depreciated rupiah exchange rate. Over the course of 2013, the rupiah fell over 25 percent against the US dollar.

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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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  • Fed Minutes: QE3 Ends in October 2014 but No Immediate US Interest Rate Hike

    Fed Minutes: QE3 Ends in October 2014 but No Immediate US Interest Rate Hike

    The US dollar continues to depreciate against emerging currencies after the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest FOMC meeting, released Wednesday (09/07), suggest that the US central bank will maintain historic low interest rates (0.0 - 0.25 percent) into 2015. The Fed informed that US interest rates hikes will only occur ”a considerable time” after the US asset-buying program (quantitative easing) has ended. Based on the latest minutes, this program is expected to end in October 2014.

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  • IMF: Despite Challenges, Global Economic Growth Expected to Improve

    IMF: Despite Challenges, Global Economic Growth Expected to Improve

    Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde stated on Sunday (06/07) that the institution expects improved global economic growth in the second half of 2014 as well as in 2015 supported by the assumption that China, the world’s second-largest economy, will expand between 7.0 and 7.5 percent in 2014, thus not showing a sharp slowdown. Later this month, the IMF will release its new global economic outlook. Lagarde said that forecasts will be slightly different from forecasts made in the April edition.

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  • Economy of Indonesia: Government Targets GDP Growth of 5.8% in 2015

    The Indonesian government is optimistic that the country’s economic growth will accelerate to 5.8 percent (year-on-year) in 2015 from an expected growth pace of 5.5 percent in 2014. The key to next year’s improved gross domestic product (GDP) growth of Indonesia is the higher forecast for global economic growth. In 2015, the world economy is estimated to grow 3.9% (yoy), higher than the outlook for this year’s growth at 3.6 percent. As such, the government’s outlook is in line the central bank’s GDP growth forecast in the range of 5.4 to 5.8 percent.

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Latest Columns US Interest Rates

  • Stocks & Rupiah Update Indonesia: Experiencing External Pressure

    Stock markets in the Asia Pacific were down on Tuesday (16/09) as investors are awaiting the results of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) today (Wednesday 17/09) and are focused on the condition of the Chinese economy. Moreover, investors were disappointed to hear that next Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) will appoint 16 party politicians to lead ministries in his cabinet (which is in contrast with his initial plan to appoint technocrats). Lastly, the Indonesian rupiah exchange continued to depreciate.

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  • Bank for International Settlements: Emerging Markets Vulnerable

    Bank for International Settlements: Emerging Markets Vulnerable

    The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) wrote in its most recent report that emerging economies, which includes Indonesia, are highly vulnerable to severe capital outflows as investments from the West have been highly speculative and can be quickly pulled out from emerging markets. Even when only a light shock occurs, capital outflows will be significant as international investors have been showing ‘herd behaviour’. This behavior can rock the financial fundamentals of emerging markets and leave these countries shattered.

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  • Bank Indonesia Keeps Key Interest Rate at 7.50% in September 2014

    Bank Indonesia Keeps Key Interest Rate at 7.50% in September 2014

    The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) kept its key interest rate (BI rate) at 7.50 percent for the tenth consecutive month as inflation is under control and well within the year-end target of the central bank (3.5-5.5 percent). The lending facility and deposit facility were kept at 7.50 percent and 5.75 percent, respectively, at Thursday’s Board of Governor’s Meeting (11/09). The central bank also expects that the current interest rate environment is capable of curbing the country’s wide current account deficit.

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  • Indonesian Government Eyes Economic growth of 5.8% in 2015

    The government of Indonesia agreed with the House Budget Committee to adjust the economic growth target of Southeast Asia’s largest economy in 2015 to 5.8 percent, 0.2 percentage point up from the initial growth target proposed by the government in the Financial Memorandum as well as the 2015 State Budget Draft (APBN). Still, the 5.8 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth target constitutes the lowest growth target set in Indonesia’s state budget (excluding revised state budgets) since the year 2010.

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  • Indonesian Property Stocks Gain Most in First 8 Months of 2014

    Indonesian Property Stocks Gain Most in First 8 Months of 2014

    Property stocks listed on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) have outperformed all other stocks between the first trading day of 2014 up to 29 August 2014. The IDX’ property sector category rose 37.6 percent in the indicated period, whereas the benchmark stock index (Jakarta Composite Index, abbreviated IHSG) - which involves all stocks traded on the IDX - climbed 18.7 percent over the same period. On the IDX, stocks are placed in ten sectoral categories. The second-best performing sectoral index was finance (+24.5 percent).

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  • SBY Declines but Joko Widodo Set to Curb Indonesia’s Fuel Subsidies

    SBY Declines but Joko Widodo Determined to Curb Indonesia’s Fuel Subsidies

    In the past days, Indonesia’s fuel subsidy policy has been in the spotlight of Indonesian media continuously. When it was reported that incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) and newly elected president Joko Widodo would meet on the island of Bali this week to discuss various transitional matters, speculation emerged that the country’s generous fuel subsidies, which seriously burden the government’s budget as well as current account, might be wound down before the new government is inaugurated in October 2014.

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  • Update Indonesian Rupiah Exchange Rate: Why Depreciating?

    The Indonesian rupiah exchange rate depreciated 0.35 percent to IDR 11,714 per US dollar according to the Bloomberg Dollar Index on Monday (25/08) as the positive market sentiments that were caused by Indonesia’s Constitutional Court that rejected Prabowo Subianto’s claim that the 2014 presidential election was invalid due to massive fraud, eased. Market participants were again looking at the domestic economic condition as well as international developments that are considered to impact on the performance of Indonesia’s currency.

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  • Indonesian Rupiah Rate: Stagnant on Federal Reserve and 2015 State Budget

    The Indonesian rupiah exchange rate depreciated slightly against the US dollar on Monday (18/08). At the end of the trading day the rupiah had weakened 0.07 percent to IDR 11,687 per US dollar according to the Bloomberg Dollar Index. This performance was in line with the performance of most other emerging Asian currencies as market participants are awaiting the Federal Reserve's annual Jackson Hole symposium which may provide new information about US short-term interest rates and other policy strategies.

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  • Indonesia Rupiah Exchange Rate Update: Appreciating 0.38%

    The Indonesian rupiah exchange rate had appreciated 0.38 percent to IDR 11,758 per US dollar on Monday (04/08) according to the Bloomberg Dollar Index by 15:40 pm local Jakarta time. Although the rupiah had appreciated to a stronger level (IDR 11,713) earlier on Monday, the currency slightly rebounded after Statistics Indonesia announced that the country posted a USD $300 million trade deficit in June 2014, thereby placing more pressure on the nation’s current account balance.

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  • Jokowi’s Strong Performance in Debate Impacts on Indonesian Rupiah & Stocks

    The Indonesian rupiah exchange rate appreciated sharply on Monday (07/07) due to the strong performance of presidential candidate Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in the presidential debate with rival candidate Prabowo Subianto last Saturday evening. Indonesian media declared Jokowi the winner of the debate because of his confident, eloquent and well-structured performance. This debate, in which the candidates were joined by their running mates, was the fifth and final one ahead of the presidential election on Wednesday 9 July.

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