Indonesia

The coronavirus outbreak couldn’t have come at a worse time for PT Garuda Indonesia, pummeling demand at the flag carrier just as it faces a debt bill for half a billion dollars, Bloomberg News reported. Debt market concern about sagging travel demand and the impact of financial market turmoil has caused Garuda’s $500 million notes due on June 3 to tumble to a record low of 55.3 cents on the dollar, according to Bloomberg-compiled prices. The securities have dropped 5.9 cents this week after sinking 36 cents last week.

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State-owned steelmaker Krakatau Steel has received approval from its creditors to restructure its loans totaling US$2 billion (Rp 27 trillion) by, among other changes, rescheduling repayment to 2027 in order to be able to revive its business, The Jakarta Post reported. Krakatau Steel president director Silmy Karim said in Jakarta on Tuesday that the debt restructuring would cut interest payments to $466 million from $847 million and cut costs by around $685 until 2027.

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Indonesian authorities are weighing the induction of a strategic investor into a unit of the nation’s oldest insurer that’s on the brink of collapse after alleged fund mismanagement left a $2 billion hole in its books, Bloomberg News reported. PT Asuransi Jiwasraya has submitted a restructuring proposal to the Financial Services Authority that includes the stake sale in unit PT Jiwasraya Putra and securing financial assistance from a planned holding company for state insurers, according to Riswinandi, commissioner for non-banking financial industry at the authority, known as OJK.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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