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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 Economic Update & Analysis: Opportunities Arise?

    It seems clear now how market conditions will be until the end of the year. Two important foreign issues - the US Federal Reserve's tapering of quantitative easing (QE3) as well as the US debt ceiling issue which resulted in a shutdown as the Democrats and Republicans failed to come to an agreement on the country's federal budget - and various economic data from Indonesia (inflation and the trade balance) have provided some more insight into the matter. I will discuss each topic one by one below.

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  • Indonesia's Inflation Eases to 8.40% as September Shows Deflation of 0.35%

    After three months of high monthly inflation rates, Indonesia's inflation eased in September due to falling prices of food, transportation, communications and financial services after the Muslim celebrations of Idul Fitri, which always cause a spike in inflation, have passed. In September 2013, Indonesia posted deflation of 0.35 percent. It was the first time in 12 years that the country posted deflation in this month. The annual inflation rate eased to 8.40 percent from 8.79 percent in August 2013.

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  • Bank Indonesia Press Release: August Trade Surplus, September Deflation

    Inflationary pressures eased in September 2013 to a 0.35% rate of deflation (mtm), or 8.40% (yoy). The rate of deflation exceeded the projections contained within the Price Monitoring Survey conducted by Bank Indonesia and much lower than inflation expectations by some analysts. Abundant supply in the wake of horticultural harvests (shallots and chilli peppers), triggered a deep correction in food prices. In addition, sliding beef prices also exacerbated further deflationary pressures, with volatile foods recording deflation of 3.38% (mtm).

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  • Indonesia's Economic Growth in Q3-2013 Expected to Fall below 5.8%

    Indonesia's Economic Growth in Q3-2013 Expected to Fall below 5.8%

    The slowdown of Indonesia's economic growth is expected to continue into the third quarter of 2013. The Indonesian government predicts that economic growth will fall below the GDP growth figure realized in the second quarter (5.8 percent). Acting Head of the Fiscal Policy Agency Bambang Brodjonegoro stated that the main factor that causes the country's slowing economic growth in Q3-2013 is reduced household consumption. Domestic consumption in Indonesia accounts for about 55 percent of the country's GDP growth.

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  • No Tapering is Bullish? The Federal Reserve Playing with the Global Market

    Starting from May 2013, Indonesia's benchmark stock index (IHSG) has been on a weakening (bearish) trend inflicted by various reasons. First, in early May, Standard & Poor's downgraded Indonesia's credit rating due to the government's hesitancy to slash fuel subsidies. Then, the Federal Reserve started to speculate about ending its quantitative easing program. Capital outflows that followed indicated the vulnerable state of the Indonesian economy. Moreover, the controversial hike in fuel prices in late-June resulted in high inflation.

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  • Indonesia's Falling Cement Sales in August 2013 Indicate Slowing Economy

    Indonesia's Falling Cement Sales in August 2013 Indicate Slowing Economy

    According to data from the Indonesian Cement Association (ASI), domestic cement sales have fallen 5.8 percent to 3.3 million tons in August 2013 (from the same month last year). Being an important indicator of economic expansion (as cement sales inform about the development of property and infrastructure projects in the country), these lower cement sales confirm the slowing pace of economic growth in Indonesia. Compared to July 2013, cement sales in Indonesia fell by a massive 32 percent.

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  • World Bank: Logistics Costs Reduce Economic Potential of Indonesia

    World Bank Report: Logistic Costs Reduce Economic Potential of Indonesia

    In its most recent report regarding Indonesia's economy, the World Bank states that high logistic costs form a serious impediment to the country's economic growth. The report, titled Annual Logistics Report, is compiled by Bandung Institute of Technology’s Research Center for Logistics and Supply Chains, the Indonesian Logistics Association (ALI), the STC Group, Panteia Research Institute, and the World Bank Indonesia Office. The report provides an analysis and overview of the progress made in tackling the problem of logistics in Indonesia.

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  • Indonesia Jumps to No. 38 in Global Competitiveness Index 2013-2014

    Indonesia Jumps to No. 38 in Global Competitiveness Index 2013-2014

    In recent weeks, Indonesia has to cope with a large amount of negative publicity as large capital outflows from the country's financial markets occurred, partly due to weak economic results regarding the current account balance, inflation and the the rupiah. Interest rates are rising, thus eroding people's purchasing power and consequently curbing economic growth. However, the Global Competitiveness Index 2013-2014, released by World Economic Forum, contained a positive outcome for Southeast Asia's largest economy.

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  • Fitch Ratings: Major Indonesian Banks Resilient Against Market Turmoil

    Fitch Ratings: Major Indonesian Banks Resilient Against Market Turmoil

    According to global credit rating and research agency Fitch Ratings, Indonesia's major banks are robust against the rupiah currency slide due to their low unhedged foreign currency exposure, strong loss-absorption cushions and - in some cases - foreign ownership. The slowdown in the economy will weigh on these (rated) banks' operating environment, but is unlikely to damage their credit profiles to any great extent. Below we provide Fitch Ratings' report. This report can also be accessed on their website.

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  • Indonesia Manufacturing PMI Contracts Sharply in August 2013

    Indonesia Manufacturing PMI Contracts Sharply in August 2013

    HSBC's latest release of the Indonesia Manufacturing PMI did not paint a positive picture as Indonesia's manufacturing activity was reported to have contracted sharply in August 2013. The index declined to a 15-month low amid a contraction of output, new orders and export business. Payroll numbers fell at the fastest rate in the history of the HSBC survey. The August index stood at 48.5, down from 50.7 in July 2013, and marks the fourth consecutive month of decline. A reading below 50.0 indicates a contraction in manufacturing activity.

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