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Today's Headlines Macroeconomy

  • Indonesia's Unemployment Rate Rises Slightly in August 2013

    Indonesia's unemployment rate rose slightly in August 2013 from the same month last year. The country's open unemployment rate rose from 6.14 percent to 6.25 percent (of the total labour force). In absolute numbers this translates to 7.4 million jobless Indonesians. Head of Statistics Indonesia, Suryamin, said that Indonesia's slowing economic growth was the main reason for the rise in unemployment, while the supply of human resources increased. In the third quarter of 2013, Indonesia's GDP growth fell to 5.62 percent (yoy).

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  • Bank Indonesia: Indonesia's October Inflation Likely to Fall Below 0.26%

    Perry Warjiyo, Deputy Governor of Indonesia's Central Bank (Bank Indonesia), expects that the inflation rate in October 2013 will fall below 0.26 percent (which is the average October inflation rate since 2007). Warjiyo said that a survey of Bank Indonesia indicated that up to the third week of October, inflation had only reached 0.06 percent. Low inflation - or preferably deflation - is needed to curb Indonesia's current high inflation rate. In September 2013, annual inflation was recorded at 8.40 percent.

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  • Bank Indonesia: Indonesia's External Debt Growth Slowing in August 2013

    Indonesia’s foreign debt was recorded at USD $257.30 billion in August 2013, a 0.9 decrease compared to foreign debt in July 2013 (USD $259.61 billion). On an annual basis (yoy), foreign debt growth in August was 6.6 percent, thus slowing compared to July’s growth of 7.4 percent (yoy). The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) considers that the slowing growth in the country's foreign debt is in line with the slowing growth of the domestic economy. Indonesia's GDP growth forecast has been revised down to below the six percent mark.

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  • Sovereign Credit Rating of Indonesia held at BBB-/stable outlook

    The Rating and Investment Information Inc (R&I), a rating agency from Japan, kept Indonesia’s Sovereign Credit Rating at BBB- with a stable outlook. In their press release, R&I stated that the four key factors behind the decision are: (a) Indonesia’s capacity to achieve sustainable economic growth in the long term (at around six percent per year); (b) conservative fiscal management (causing a marginal fiscal deficit); (c) a sound banking sector; and (d) a low level of government debt.

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  • Indonesia's Current Account Deficit May Moderate to 2.6% in 2014

    A senior official at Indonesia's central bank (Bank Indonesia) stated that the country's current account deficit is expected to ease to 2.5 - 2.7 percent of Indonesia's gross domestic product (GDP) by 2014. In the second quarter of 2013, the account deficit reached USD $9.8 billion or 4.4 percent of GDP in Q2-2013, an alarmingly high figure that has caused much concern among the investor community. This deficit is particularly brought on by a large deficit in the country's oil & gas sector in combination with strong domestic demand for imports.

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  • Indonesia's Foreign Exchange Reserves Grow 2.8% in September 2013

    The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) announced that Indonesia's foreign exchange reserves have increased slightly in September 2013. On 30 September, the reserves stood at USD $95.67 billion, a 2.88 percent increase from USD $92.99 billion one month earlier. The reserves in September are equivalent to 5.4 months of imports, or 5.2 months when servicing of government external debt is included. Recent US dollar demand for the import of oil is what put pressure on the reserves.

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  • World Bank: Indonesia's Resilience Tested, Adjustment Continues

    Indonesia’s economy continues to adjust, as weaker commodity prices, tighter international financing, and slowing domestic demand moderate the growth rate to 5.6 percent for 2013. This downward revision is discussed in the latest edition of the World Bank’s Indonesia Economic Quarterly (IEQ). Further moderation of growth (at 5.3 percent) may be expected in 2014, with growth in high income economies firming but international market conditions likely remaining volatile.

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  • Indonesian Government Expects Trade Deficit to Ease to USD $4 Billion

    Indonesia's trade deficit is expected to amount to USD $4 billion by the end of 2013, implying a moderation from the USD $5.54 billion deficit that emerged between January and August 2013. Indonesia's exports are forecast to decline by about 5 percent in the remainder of 2013 due to the weak global environment, particularly with the current ongoing political uncertainties in the USA. As such, in order to combat the deficit, the government intends to limit imports. Next year, Indonesia will most likely continue to post a trade deficit.

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  • Bank Indonesia and China Extend Bilateral Currency Swap Arrangement

    Bank Indonesia and China Extend Bilateral Currency Swap Arrangement

    Governor of Bank Indonesia, Agus Martowardojo and Governor of the People’s Bank of China, Zhou Xiaochuan, signed an extension to the Bilateral Currency Swap Arrangement (BCSA), representing a tangible manifestation of strong financial cooperation between both central banks in the areas of monetary policy and financial system stability. “The agreement reflects regional commitment in the face of global uncertainty and will contribute propitiously towards maintaining macroeconomic and domestic financial stability,” emphasized Martowardojo.

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  • Indonesian Government Preparing Additional Policy Approach Package

    The government of Indonesia is busy preparing an extra package of policy responses aimed at stabilizing Indonesia's financial markets. Previously, the government had released a sort of 'rescue package' in late August after the rupiah depreciated sharply and the country's stock indices plunged. Panic had emerged due to the looming end of the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing program. Coupled with internal issues, it resulted in robust capital outflows from Indonesia. The new package will be released in October.

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Latest Columns Macroeconomy

  • Indonesia's Main Stock Index (IHSG): the Ship that is Rocked by a Storm

    For several weeks now, Indonesia's main stock index (IHSG) has been experiencing a sharp correction. As I wrote in my previous columns, market participants have been waiting for several important macro economic data, to wit Indonesia's economic growth figure for the second quarter of 2013, the July 2013 inflation rate, and the country's trade balance statistics for the first six months of this year. Now all above results have been released, we can analyze further the impact of these macroeconomic results as well as investors' reaction to it.

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  • Indonesia's Foreign Exchange Reserves Fall, Current Account Deficit Grows

    The foreign exchange reserves of Indonesia keep on falling from its historical peak of USD $124.64 billion in August 2011 to USD $92.67 billion at the end of July 2013. This development seems to highlight long-standing weaknesses in Indonesia's sovereign's external finances, as credit agency Fitch Ratings detected on several occasions before. The republic of Indonesia is currently characterized by four deficits, to wit a current account deficit, a balance of payments deficit, a trade balance deficit and a fiscal deficit.

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  • Slowing Growth in Indonesian Cement Sales Continues in Semester II

    Slowing Growth in Indonesian Cement Sales Continues in Semester II

    Cement sales in Indonesia grew by seven percent to 32.9 million tons in the period January to July 2013. This pace of growth is significantly lower compared to the double-digit cement growth rate last year and thus forms another sign of cooling economic growth in Southeast Asia's largest economy (cement sales are a good indicator to measure the state of economic growth of a country). A slowdown in domestic cement sales is likely to continue in the second half of 2013, partly due to a decline in infrastructure projects.

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  • Revised Tax Holiday and Tax Allowance to Attract Investments in Indonesia

    Revised Tax Holiday and Tax Allowance to Attract Investments in Indonesia

    Apart from the five tax incentives that I have mentioned in a previous column, the Indonesian government also intends to ease two other tax rules in order to boost investments in Indonesia from 2014 onwards. These are the tax holiday and tax allowance. Relaxation of the tax holiday involves an alteration to the period as well as the size of the investment, and relaxation of procedural difficulties. Relaxation of the tax allowance involves the revision of the number of sectors that are eligible and a relaxation of procedures in the form of tax clearance.

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  • Bank Indonesia Raises Interest Rate to fight Inflation and Support the Rupiah

    Today, Bank Indonesia surprised many analysts and investors by raising its benchmark interest rate by 50 bps to 6.50 percent. Indonesia's central bank assessed that this measure is the correct one with regard to supporting the IDR rupiah (which is one of the worst Asian currencies against the US dollar this year) and to fight higher inflation after the government decided to cut fuel subsidies in June. It expects inflation to peak in July at about 2.3 percent (month to month) but to moderate soon afterwards.

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  • Central Bank of Indonesia Outlines its Macroeconomic Assumptions

    Bank Indonesia Macro Economy Indonesia Investments Richard van der Schaar

    Indonesia's central bank (Bank Indonesia) expects that economic growth of Indonesia in 2013 will not meet the government's target as has been set in the revised State Budget (APNB-P). Last month, both government and parliament of Indonesia agreed on a revised GDP growth assumption of 6.3 percent. However, Bank Indonesia believes that, due to slowing domestic consumption and investments in the current global economic context, the growth is more likely to fall between 5.8 and 6.2 percent.

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  • Draghi's Statement Results in Rising Stock Indices in Europe on Thursday

    Without any support from the United States, where Wall Street was closed due to the 4th of July festivities, stock indices in Europe found their way up. President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, caused positive market sentiments after stating that the interest rate will remain low for a long while and that the current monetary (easing) policy will remain unchanged. Stock indices in Germany, France, Great Britain and the Netherlands went up between 2.1 and 3.1 percent on Thursday's trading day (04/07).

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  • Two Important Questions in Indonesia's Highly Volatile Market

    Indonesia's main stock index (IHSG) moved wildly last week. During the first two days of the week, the index fell to 4,609.95 points, which is considerably below its record high level of 5,214 on 20 May 2013. However, on the last trading day of the week (14/06), a 3.32 percent recovery occurred. Generally, it were domestic market participants that supported the IHSG. Foreign market participants continued to sell parts of their Indonesian stock portfolios. Total foreign selling totaled IDR 9 trillion (USD $910.4 million) last week.

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  • Press Release of Bank Indonesia: BI Rate Raised by 25 bps to 6.00%

    Less than 24 hours after having raised the overnight deposit facility rate (known as Fasbi) by 25 bps to 4.25 percent, Indonesia's central bank (Bank Indonesia) also raised its benchmark interest rate (known as the BI rate) by 25 bps to 6.0 percent. Both these policy responses were conducted in order to support the IDR rupiah, which is one of the worst performing Asian currencies against the US dollar in 2013. Indonesia's central bank expects growing inflationary pressures as the Indonesian government intends to cut fuel subsidies this June.

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  • Indonesia's Current Account Deficit Improves in the First Quarter of 2013

    Indonesia's central bank (Bank Indonesia or BI) announced on Wednesday (15/05/13) that the country's external balance has improved during Q1-2013 as non-oil and gas trade were up. Indonesia's current account deficit stood at USD $5.3 billion (2.4 percent of GDP) in Q1-2013, compared to the previous quarter's deficit of USD $7.6 billion (3.5 percent of GDP). Indonesia has experienced a widening trade deficit, although it recorded a trade surplus of USD $304.90 in March, the first trade surplus since September 2012.

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