Indonesia

Indonesia has more reason than most to be wary of backsliding on its commitment to budget discipline, Bloomberg News reported. Its deficit ceiling is an important piece of the economic and political architecture that emerged from the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. Indonesia experienced more than just a run on the currency, a deep recession and a rescue by the International Monetary Fund. The crunch morphed into riots, communal violence and the overthrow of dictator Suharto, who had ruled with military backing for more than three decades.
Read more

The global collapse in coal prices this year has dealt a particularly heavy blow to miners in Indonesia, the top exporter and one of the largest producers of the fuel. Bonds from the country’s financially weak miners have suffered more than peers elsewhere in Asia due to a lack of diversification and state backing that many competitors enjoy, Bloomberg News reported. Prices of thermal coal -- the kind burned by power plants -- have slumped about 33% this year, and at least four U.S. firms have gone bankrupt.

Read more

Investors on a call in July with distressed Indonesia textile firm PT Delta Merlin Dunia Tekstil were confounded -- how could the company’s fortunes have turned so fast? They’re still searching for answers, in a case that’s revived concerns about a lack of transparency in corners of Asia’s credit markets, Bloomberg News reported. The saga has also highlighted risks of more scares ahead as the trade war and mounting geopolitical concerns reverse a rally in junk debt.

Read more

Questions have emerged over whether one of Indonesia’s wealthiest families has in effect dragged itself into court to prevent a foreign creditor from recovering a loan — a case experts say threatens the credibility of the country’s bankruptcy laws, the Financial Times reported. The case against a subsidiary of Lippo group, which is controlled by Indonesia’s Riady family, comes at a time when defaults are rising in the country. It is expected to spark concerns over powerful local conglomerates forcing out foreign creditors through bankruptcy proceedings.

Read more
Indonesia at times felt uncomfortably close to the center of this year’s emerging-market selloff as bond yields rose for five straight months and the rupiah slid more than 6 percent, Bloomberg News reported. Some funds are now saying it’s time to get back in. Loomis Sayles & Co. is looking to boost holdings of Indonesian bonds, citing sound domestic fundamentals and inflation that is close to target. Western Asset Management Co. says a proactive central bank and the recent increase in yields may be creating a buying opportunity for the nation’s dollar-denominated debt.
Read more
Global mining giants Freeport-McMoRan Inc. and Rio Tinto PLC have agreed to hand over control of the world’s second-biggest copper mine to Indonesia, moving closer to resolving one of the world’s most prominent recent battles over resource wealth, The Wall Street Journal reported. Thursday’s agreement comes after years of tense negotiations and follows moves by governments around the world, from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Tanzania, to wrest control of mines and take a bigger cut of profits.
Read more
Indonesia’s central bank raised interest rates for the second time in as many weeks on Wednesday after its newly-appointed governor called an off-cycle monetary policy meeting, the Financial Times reported. The Bank of Indonesia increased its benchmark seven-day repo rate by 25 basis points to 4.75 per cent, after raising rates for the first time since 2014 in mid-May in a bid to prevent capital flight. In its mid-May statement, the bank highlighted that the move was designed to support the rupiah.
Read more
Indonesia’s household consumption, a major contributor to GDP, has been growing at a lacklustre rate in recent years because of weak commodity prices and currency devaluations, the Financial Times reported. The latest economic indicators and FT Confidential Research data show signs of recovery, although the overall outlook remains precarious. This situation is likely to drive pro-growth President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to support households with subsidies, a populist policy that is incompatible with his fiscal reform agenda as he seeks re-election in April next year.
Read more
A steep recent slide in Indonesia’s stock markets and currency is rooted in heavy foreign ownership of the country’s government bonds—something officials here have been trying to change. The Indonesian stock market has slid more than 7% in two weeks, while the rupiah has shed 1.4% since mid-April as global investors have pulled funds from emerging markets. The selloff is partly because of ripple effects from Indonesia’s local-currency bond market, which until recently has been a beneficiary of investors’ yearslong search for yield, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Read more
Indonesia will hand over a luxury yacht seized on the resort island of Bali to U.S. authorities, police said Wednesday, giving the Justice Department an elusive asset connected to a $4.5 billion fraud case centered on the Malaysian state fund 1MDB, The Wall Street Journal reported. Daniel Silitonga, Indonesia’s chief police investigator in seizure of the yacht Equanimity, said police would transfer control over the $250 million, 300-foot vessel “in a few days” upon the completion of legal arrangements.
Read more