In line with markets' expectation the central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) kept its benchmark reference interest rate (BI rate) unchanged at 7.50 percent on Thursday (18/06). Bank Indonesia remains committed to its relatively tight monetary stance in a bid to combat accelerated inflation, limit the country's wide current account deficit, and support the ailing rupiah. The central bank also kept its overnight deposit facility rate (Fasbi) and lending facility rate at 5.50 percent and 8.00 percent, respectively.
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Today's Headlines Inflation May 2015
The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) is expected to leave its interest rate regime unchanged at Thursday’s Board of Governor’s meeting. Currently, Bank Indonesia’s key interest rate (BI rate) stands at 7.50 percent, the overnight deposit facility at 5.50 percent, and the lending facility rate at 8.00 percent. The central bank seems committed to this relatively high interest rate environment as the country’s inflation accelerated to 7.15 percent (y/y) in May, while the rupiah touched a 17-year low on 9 June 2015.
The Indonesian rupiah continues to be a cause for concern as the currency immediately depreciated heavily after trading opened on Monday (08/06). Based on the Bloomberg Dollar Index, the rupiah hit a new record-low of IDR 13,382 per US dollar in the post Asian Financial Crisis era at 9:10 am. Due to a lack of domestic and international positive sentiments only central bank intervention can support the country's ailing currency. Meanwhile, Indonesian stocks followed suit by declining 0.70 percent shortly after opening.
The Indonesian rupiah continued to set a new record-low in the post Asian Financial Crisis era. Based on the Bloomberg Dollar Index, the rupiah depreciated 0.07 percent to IDR 13,290 per US dollar on Friday (05/06), the weakest level since 1998. A number of factors are responsible for this weak performance. These include higher bond yields, US dollar demand due to dividend repatriation and debt repayment, Indonesia’s high inflation, uncertainty about the Greek debt crisis and looming higher US interest rates.
As the Indonesian rupiah continued to depreciate on Thursday (04/06), touching a 17-year low, a central bank official tried to ease concerns by stating that Bank Indonesia is always in the foreign exchange and bond markets to monitor movements and ease volatility. On Thursday morning the bond yield, which has been rising since Friday (29/05), was 8.198 percent. Based on the Bloomberg Dollar Index, Indonesia's rupiah had depreciated 0.11 percent to IDR 13,245 by 11:10 am local Jakarta time.
In line with other stock indices in Southeast Asia, Indonesia’s benchmark stock index (Jakarta Composite Index) has been weakening since the start of trading on Wednesday (03/06). Yesterday’s weakening indices on Wall Street, concern about rising bond yields, worries about the possibility of a default by debt-ridden Greece, and weak macroeconomic data from Indonesia have all contributed to the negative performance of Indonesian stocks so far today. By 11:15 am local time, the Jakarta Composite Index had fallen 1.42 percent.
Inflation in Indonesia accelerated higher than expected in May 2015. Based on the latest data from Statistics Indonesia (BPS), announced today, Indonesia’s consumer price index rose to 7.15 percent (y/y) in May, from 6.79 percent (y/y) in the preceding month. The primary reason for higher inflation is rebounding oil prices thus causing higher prices at fuel pumps. As fuel subsidies have been largely cut at the start of 2015, the recent rising global oil prices now cause serious inflationary pressures in Indonesia.
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