The June 2016 reference thermal coal price of Indonesia (in Indonesian: Harga Batubara Acuan, HBA), a price set by Indonesia's Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry on a monthly basis, rose 1.3 percent month-on-month to USD $51.81 per metric ton (FOB). In line with our earlier predictions, Indonesia's coal price has been stabilizing just above the USD $50 per ton level so far this year, supported by miners' decision to cut output amid low coal prices. Meanwhile, coal prices in Europe surged to the highest level in ten months, buoyed by rising fuel prices as well as supply disruptions.
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Today's Headlines La Nina
Inflation is under control in Indonesia. Based on the latest data from Statistics Indonesia (BPS), Indonesian inflation eased to 3.60 percent (y/y) in April 2016, well within the target range of the nation's central bank and central government. However, inflationary pressures in Southeast Asia's largest economy may rise in the second half of the year because there is a big chance that the El Nino weather phenomenon is to be followed by the La Nina weather phenomenon. Both weather phenomenons impact heavily on Indonesia's agricultural output.
Dry weather caused by El Nino is expected to lead to a ten percent decline in Indonesia's coffee production in 2016. El Nino, which occurs once every five years on average, involves periodical warm ocean water temperatures off the western coast of South America that can cause climatic changes across the Pacific Ocean, leading to severe droughts in key agricultural-producing countries in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia. The El Nino in 2015-2016 is the worst one in nearly two decades.
Franky Oesman Widjaja, Chairman of Sinar Mas Agribusiness & Foods, expects Indonesia's crude palm oil production in 2016 to drop by 5-10 percent (y/y) due to the impact of the El Nino weather phenomenon that brought extreme dry weather to Southeast Asia in 2015. However, in several Indonesian regions palm oil plantations are now being plagued by floods giving rise to speculation whether El Nino is to be followed by La Nina. La Nina - the opposite of El Nino - brings cooler than average sea temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean causing wetter-than-usual weather in Southeast Asia.
Latest Columns La Nina
Expectation of rising fresh fruit bunches (FFB) and crude palm oil (CPO) volumes in the second half of the year should boost the corporate earnings of Astra Agro Lestari, one of Indonesia's leading agribusiness companies. Meanwhile, sentiments related to the La Nina weather phenomenon and rising CPO demand on the back of the Indonesian government's biodiesel program should support CPO prices. Astra Agro Lestari is the plantation unit of diversified conglomerate Astra International.
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