Determined to keep abreast of affairs throughout the country, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyon has installed a 'situation room' at the Presidential Palace. (Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mandiri, BCA, BNI expect hard times in ‘09

Aditya Suharmoko and Benget Besalicto Tnb., THE JAKARTA POST, JAKARTA | Tue, 03/31/2009 11:15 AM

Although the global economic crisis has hit Indonesia’s financial sector since last October, three of the nation’s top-five banks posted healthy growth in 2008 profits.

State-run Bank Mandiri and Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), as well as privately-owned Bank Central Asia (BCA), enjoyed more than 20 percent increases in net profits last year as lending rose.

The rate of non-performing loans (NPLs) of the three lenders, all publicly listed, also improved, staying below the central bank’s maximum tolerance limit of 5 percent.

Mandiri, the largest bank by assets, posted a 22 percent growth in net profits last year up to Rp 5.31 trillion (US$459.8 million) from 2007, president director Agus Martowardojo told a press conference.

BNI, the fourth largest bank, scored higher net profit growth of 36 percent last year to Rp 1.22 trillion from a year earlier, said BNI president director Gatot M. Suwondo.

BCA, the largest bank, reported a 29 percent growth in net profits last year to Rp 5.8 trillion.

The bank also had its biggest quarterly gain in profits in nearly five years in the fourth quarter of last year, just when the impacts of the global financial turmoil started to hit home.

“During the hard times last year, which were full of challenges, BCA remained focused on maintaining sufficient liquidity and a strong capital base,” BCA president director Djohan Emir Setijoso told a press conference.



The encouraging performance of the banks was largely due to the rapid expansion of lending last year, although lending growth slowed in the last quarter. Full-year, the country’s banking industry booked around 30 percent growth in lending last year, from a year earlier.

Turning to this year however, it is anticipated the negative impact of the global credit crunch

is likely to peak soon, which has forced the central bank to cut Indonesia’s forecast economic growth, so the banks expect hard times during this year.

Earlier, the central bank expected lending this year to reach around 16 percent, only about half of last year’s lending growth.

Greater challenges are expected this year from weakening demand as a slowing economy means businesses will stop expansion, which in turn will push demand down.

Meanwhile, as demand falls, businesses may have problems repaying existing loans, triggering a rise in Non Performing Loans (NPLs).

Mandiri chief financial officer Pahala N. Mansury admitted there could be a potential increase in NPLs, although “not by much.”

“We have prepared (for a rise in) NPLs against the recent macroeconomic conditions.”

Mandiri’s gross NPLs stood at 4.7 percent last year, just below the 5 percent maximum tolerance set out by the central bank.

Pahala also said Mandiri still aimed at lending growth of between 10 percent and 15 percent this year despite the fact the central bank had cut its economic growth forecast to between 3 and 4 percent.

“We are still optimistic even though there is a (BI) revision for our gross domestic product (GDP). But if the economic conditions get worse, we might revise our lending growth” he said.

Mandiri corporate banking director Abdul Rachman added the bank had talked with debtors regarding a possible rise in bad debts.

Echoing Mandiri’s optimism, BNI also expects a modest increase in NPLs. “For 2009, we will not be too confident. We will see real sector (problems), but we will try to keep (NPLs) below 6 percent,” said Gatot.

Last year, BNI’s gross NPLs stood at 4.9 percent.

BCA also predicted a rise in NPLs as exporters were affected by the global financial crisis. The central bank has said exports may contract by as much as 28 percent this year.

“BCA’s NPLs this year will increase due to the economic hard times, particularly from lending in the export sector,” said Setijoso.

”And if possible, we can always increase our provisions. In case there may be one or two troubled debtors, we are ready,” he added.

BCA expected a 15 percent increase in lending growth this year. “This is the minimum (growth). If the economy is growing better than expected, it could be more.”

Setijoso said the BCA loan portfolio would include 35 percent for corporates, 40 percent to small and medium firms, 20 percent to property and 5 percent for personal loans.

SBY pledges special decree to uphold graft court

Abdul Khalik, THE JAKARTA POST, JAKARTA | Tue, 03/31/2009 9:25 AM

Strengthening his stance against corruption ahead of the upcoming elections, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has unveiled a plan to issue a government regulation-in-lieu-of-law (Perppu) should lawmakers fail to pass a corruption court bill by the end of this year.

“The President will issue a Perppu to save the Corruption Court if the House cannot create the law before Dec.19,” Denny Indrayana, an advisor to the President on legal issues, said in Jakarta on Monday.

In 2007, the Constitutional Court concluded that the Corruption Court had violated the Constitution when it was established under the 2002 law on the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), instead of the law on judicial powers.

The Corruption Court then ruled that a new law on the Corruption Court had to be enacted by December 2009, or else the existing Corruption Court would lose its legal basis, be dissolved and forced to hand over trials under its investigation to the district courts.

Observers and civil society groups have expressed concerns over the chance that corruption cases could be delegated to the district courts when they are widely regarded as one of the country’s most corrupt institutions.

The current Corruption Court is the only court of its kind where prosecutors from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) bring the accused to trial.

However, the House of Representatives appears reluctant to complete the deliberation process on time, sparking outrage among anticorruption campaigners.

With the legislative elections just over a week away, legislators have been accused of ignoring the deliberation process of crucial bills, including the Corruption Court bill, to focus on their campaign efforts.

“It would be best if the House could pass the bill so we don’t have to use a Perppu. But if there is no law decided upon by the deadline, then the President can issue a Perppu on grounds of an emergency situation,” Denny said.

He said the bottom line was that the Corruption Court must be saved by either a law or a Perppu.

“If we issue a Perppu, we can use the draft bill currently being discussed in the House, with some adjustments and input from the public,” Denny said.

Two articles within the bill are of particular concern to corruption watchdogs. One designates district court heads to chair regional corruption courts while another assigns the district court chief the authority to select judges overseeing certain cases, such as those under review.

The bill also grants the Supreme Court head and district court chief the prerogative to decide on the balance of career and noncareer judges in district-level corruption courts.

The bill states the number of judges be odd, either three or five.

District court and career judges have a notorious history of colluding with corruption suspects appearing before them, which created a veritable “court mafia” embedded in the country’s

judicial system. Many anti-corruption activists say the bill could be a strategy to weaken the fight against graft.

It is feared that if the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is defeated each time it presents cases to the Corruption Court, its power and authority could be undermined.

Monday, March 30, 2009

President`s participation in G-20 Summit is honor, responsibility

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono`s participation in the upcoming G-20 Summit is an honor and at the same time a responsibility to the international world, according to a presidential spokesman.

"One thing I want to emphasize now is that although the general election campaign period is also a busy time for the president, he has decided to attend the G-20 Summit because it`s not only an honor for Indonesia, but also a big responsibility," Dino Patti Djalal said at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force base here on Monday, moments before leaving for London as a member of the presidential entourage.

Indonesia`s role in the G-20 was very unique as it would be for the first time for Indonesia to stand in the forefront of efforts to manage the world economy which were previously dominated by G-7 countries, he said.

"Now, it is the responsibility of the G-20, and Indonesia is now part of the new world economic power grouping. So, it is a big responsibility because we have been invited to participate in the world economic recovery efforts, and the global economic recovery will also affect our welfare," he said.

In London, President Yudhoyono will also have bilateral meetings with the Japanese prime minister, the British prime minister, the Australian prime minister, the UN Secretary General, and British Crown Prince Charles.

Yudhoyono and Prince Charles would talk about forest preservation efforts, he said. The head of state would also deliver a speech at the London School of Economic and Political Sciences, he added.

A bilateral meeting between Yudhoyono and US President Barack Obama was so far not scheduled on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit, he said.

"The President will sit next to Obama during a dinner. That`s the format," Djalal said.

Among members of the presidential entourage are First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfre Aburizal Bakrie, Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu, Environmental Affairs Minister Rachmat Witoelar, Legislator Theo Sambuaga, Chairman of the Investment Coordinating Board M Lutfi, and Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) MS Hidayat.

Indonesia`s consumption rate still high: official

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia`s consumption rate is currently still high so that it is able to absorb the country`s unexported goods, according to a senior economic official.

"There is no problem with national consumption because it is still high," Edy Putra Irawady, deputy for industrial and trade affairs to the coordinating minister for economic affairs, said here on Monday.

With a population of more than 200 million, Indonesia`s domestic market was considered large, moreover the country was going to hold the general elections later this year, he said.

"In this part of the world, we are a large market, we are a larger market than any other parts of the region," he said.

The contribution of Indonesian products to international consumption was around three percent from the total international consumption, he said.

"The value of our products `eaten up` by the global recession is only about three percent or around US$1.8 trillion per year," he said.

Indonesia has so far been conducting its exports through third parties such as Singapore, he said.

International demand for Indonesia`s main products was actually still high, only that trading companies which had so far bought Indonesian products went bankrupt, he said.

"Currently, many trading companies especially those in Singapore had collapsed due to the global crisis, so that Indonesia had to be brave enough to export directly," he said.

President leaves for London

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono left Jakarta on Monday for a three-day visit to London to attend G-20 summit.

Boarding special presidential aircraft A-330, the president and his entourage departed from Halim Perdanakusuma military airbase in East Jakarta at 11 a.m. local time on Monday.

On his trip to London, President Yudhoyono is accompanied by a number of cabinet ministers among others Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Aburizal Bakrie, Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu, State Minister for Environment Rachmat Witoelar, and House of Representatives (DPR) member Theo L Ambuaga.

Then, Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) chairman M Lutfi, and Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) chairman MS Hidayat.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Hassan Wirayuda and acting Coordinating Minister for Economy Sri Mulyani Idrawati had left Jakarta earlier and were to join the president`s entourage in London later.

After about 18 hours in the air, President Yudhoyono and his entourage will arrive at London`s Gatwick airport at 11.30 p.m. local time.

During the visit, the president is scheduled to hold a series of bilateral meeting with several heads of state/government of G-20 member countries.

On Tuesday, March 31, Yudhoyono will meet consecutively with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, British Conservative Party leader David Cameron, and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Later in the day, the head of state will deliver a lecture on "Indonesia: Regional, Role, Global Reach" at London School of Economics and Political Science and then have a meeting with Indonesian community in London.

Then on Wednesday, April 1, 2009, President Yudhohono will have bilateral meeting with Thai Prime Minister Abhisis Vejjajiva, Duke of York Prince Andrew, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, and Prince Charles.

And in the evening, Yudhoyhono and other leaders of G-20 member countries will attend a joint reception with Queen Elizabeth II and a banquet hosted by British prime minister at 10 Downing Street.

After that, President Yudhoyono will attend G-20 Summit at London Exhibition Center on Thursday, April 2, before returning to Indonesia.

The head of state is scheduled to arrive at Juanda International airport in Surabaya, East Java, at 11 on Friday morning to attend election campaign rally of Democrat Party in the province.

Kadin calls for swift steps as economy under more pressure

Aditya Suharmoko , The Jakarta Post , Mon, 03/30/2009 11:50 AM

A further downward revision of Indonesia’s forecast economic growth by the central bank shows the economy is under stronger pressure from the global financial crisis, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) says, urging the government to take more rapid steps to mitigate the crisis.

Bank Indonesia (BI) has revised downward the bank’s economic growth forecast to between 3 percent and 4 percent from their previous estimate of between 4 percent and 5 percent, as investment and exports have plummeted, BI senior deputy governor Miranda S. Goeltom said last week.

“The revision by BI shows that our economy is getting worse. The government and the House of Representatives need to take swift measures by focusing on implementation of projects in the economic stimulus package,” Bambang Soesatyo, the head of domestic trade committee at the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), said on Sunday.

Bambang cited the latest data from the customs and excise office showing that export growth in the first quarter of this year had already dropped 30 percent, compared to the same period last year, while investment will probably also slide further as compared to earlier estimates, due to the continued drying up of financial liquidity.

According to the Central Statistics Agency, exports in January contracted by 36 percent from a year earlier as demand fell. BI has estimated exports would contract by as much as 28 percent during the whole of this year, compared to 2008, while Kadin is predicting that there may be a far worse drop, of up to 50 percent.

These drops in exports and investment, coupled with a decline in domestic demand, will cause the economy to expand at less than the government’s latest hoped for target rate of about 4.5 percent this year.

In the banking sector, the rate of non-performing loans will likely increase significantly as revenues fall. According to BI, loans under special surveillance rose by Rp 9.14 trillion in January to Rp 84.72 trillion.

“The economy is not only declining. The growth quality may not be so good, with increases in the number of people unemployed and living in poverty,” said Bambang.

The government has yet to fully implement its stimulus package for infrastructure projects, which is expected to be launched in March. That may further undermine the economy, he added.

“We are worried that the government has not acted in a crisis framework ... We expect the government to remain focused (in mitigating the impact of the crisis) even in the pre-election period,” he said.

The government has allocated Rp 12.2 trillion of the stimulus package towards infrastructure and rural development projects out of a total Rp 73.3 trillion budgeted for economic stimulus purposes.

However, according to the Finance Ministry, the Agriculture Ministry, the Trade Ministry, the Transportation Ministry and Manpower and Transmigration Ministry have all requested more time to plan the stimulus spending, confirming the views of some experts that bureaucratic slowness might be the weakest link in the stimulus plan.

The Agriculture Ministry, for example, has difficulties planning the building of roads linking agricultural areas with processing and marketing areas, and highways connecting villages with cities.

The Transportation Ministry has difficulties in project spending relating to railways and the construction of a strategic national highway.

Aside from the stimulus, Indonesia is hoping to obtain some financial or economic support from the decisions of the world’s 20 largest economies grouped under the G-20.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati recently flew to London for a pre-summit G20 meeting to discuss how to restore and maintain flows of funds to emerging countries and to help restore global demand.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Indonesian president woos voters in tense Aceh

Reuters, Ed Davies, 3:57am EDT


Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (L), accompanied by First Lady Kristiani Yudhoyono, speaks to his Democratic party supporters during a rally in Banda Aceh, Aceh province March 29, 2009. (REUTERS/Supri)

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono praised on Sunday the rebuilding of Aceh and played down concerns over a peace deal in the province, as he highlighted Indonesia's stability ahead of polls next month.

Tensions have risen in the province in recent months with a number of attacks on members of Aceh parties blamed by some on disgruntled elements of the Indonesian military concerned that some former rebels have not dropped separatist aims.

Yudhoyono, who is seeking a second term in office, has visited Aceh twice in two months and has a key stake in ensuring the peace deal struck during his administration after the devastating 2004 tsunami remains on track.

"I hope peace and order will persist here because we don't want any more conflict," he told a campaign rally for his Democrat Party on a rain-soaked field besides a sports stadium in the provincial capital of the staunchly Muslim province of 4 million.

Parliamentary elections kick off on April 9 followed by a key presidential vote on July 8. The polls will be key to dictating the pace of further reform in Southeast Asia's biggest economy.

Yudhoyono, who has been zig-zagging across the sprawling archipelago in the past few weeks to campaign, has also been trying to sell his government's success lifting economic growth, tackling poverty and fighting endemic graft.

Along with tee-shirts and other handouts, political rallies in Indonesia often use popular local singers, sometimes wearing sexy tight-fitting outfits, to drum up crowds.

In Aceh, the only province officially allowed to follow sharia law in secular Indonesia, the campaign rally was a little more reserved and started with a recital from the Koran.

But the crowd, separated between men and head-scarfed women, began dancing and yelling as more local acts took to the stage. Water jets from fire hoses sporadically rained down to keep people cool under a blazing sun.

NEW HOMES, ROADS

Along with national parties, six local parties in Aceh including one formed by former rebels will contest the election.

Yudhoyono, 59, a former general known by his initials SBY, and his Democrat Party are currently well ahead in national polls, although local parties are expected to do well in Aceh.

Aceh, an area rich in resources ranging from gas to coffee lying on the tip of Sumatra, suffered from three decades of bloody separatist conflict between the secessionist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Indonesian armed forces.

But the December 2004 tsunami in which 170,000 people in Aceh died or went missing proved a shove for both sides to reach a peace agreement in 2005 giving it special status.

Yudhoyono reeled out a series of numbers highlighting the reconstruction of Aceh by the government and donors including 134,000 new homes, 3,600 km (2,237 miles) of roads and 20 ports. "Do you know why the world joined to help? Because Aceh is now peaceful," he told the crowd of flag-waving supporters during an intermission between local singers.

Most analysts do not see the peace deal in imminent danger, but there has been a pick up in violence in recent months, including murky shootings and grenade attacks.

"As political tensions have risen in Aceh, hostility between GAM and the TNI (Indonesian military) is at its highest point since the MOU was signed," the International Crisis Group said in a report last week, referring to a memorandum of understanding signed by GAM and the government in the 2005 peace accord.

Stability in Aceh is particularly crucial now since it needs to attract more investment as the government winds down the state reconstruction agency set up to rebuild the province after the tsunami and channel billions of dollars from donors.

The government also wants to use the Aceh model to resolve another long-running separatist conflict in the eastern area of Papua after recently opening talks with an exiled rebel leader.

(Additional reporting by Reza Munawir and Karima Anjani in Jakarta; Editing by David Fox)

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Election 2009 Campaigns


President reaffirms continuation of pro-people programs

Medan, N Sumatra (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono reaffirmed his government would continue carrying out pro-people programs such as the direct assistance fund (BLT) beyond the general elections.

"Such program like BLT is not only conducted by Indonesia as a developing country. In fact, advanced countries adopt such that program," the president said after conducting a outdoor campaign in Medan, North Sumatra, on Saturday.

He reiterated that BLT program had already been done since 2005-2006 and was then continued in 2008 and 2009.

"The direct assistance fund is not aimed for political interest, as what has been raised as political issue in the run up to the general election," he said.

Earlier in his campaign, the president in his oration stressed that pro-people program was not only BLT, but also rice for the poor and national program for the empowerment of self-reliant community (PNPM).

"Pro-people program should run unstopped and the Democrats Party will remain committed to the program which has to do with the interest of the people, so that this party should be elected by the people during the general election," the president said before hundreds of thousands of his party`s supporters.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Indonesia urges developed nations to fix crisis

Reuters, Ed Davies, Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:49am EDT

MEDAN, Indonesia (Reuters) - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urged on Saturday developed nations to clean up their banks and to make "full-blown efforts" to stabilize the financial markets.

"Indonesia hopes developed countries will clean up their banking system," Yudhoyono, who is due to attend next week's G20 meeting in Britain, told a news conference in the North Sumatran city of Medan.

Indonesia's central bank warned on Friday that Southeast Asia's biggest economy could see growth slow to 3-4 percent this year, from 6 percent in 2008 as exports slide.

Reflecting weak global demand for key commodities such as palm oil and rubber, and for goods such as cars, auto parts and electronics, Indonesia's exports plunged in January at their fastest pace in more than two decades.

Other emerging economies such as Brazil have also pressed the urgent need for developed economies to take the lead in helping fix the global crisis.

Since the G20 accounted for about 80 percent of the global economy, Yudhoyono said it was "extremely crucial that the next summit yields concrete results that could help end the global recession."

The president said Indonesia had set up a 73.3 trillion rupiah ($6.39 billion) stimulus package to help support its economy, but that would only go so far.

"Unfortunately, it won't help overcome the global economic downturn," said Yudhoyono, who is seeking a second term in office this year and held the news conference after attending a campaign rally for his Democrat Party.

"I would like to see developed countries make full-blown efforts to stabilize the financial market and make sure the real sector is up and running again."

The president said he had held talks on Saturday with Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who will also attend the G20, to "synchronize the position of developing countries at the summit."

Thailand is attending the G20 because it currently chairs the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

"We are preparing our recommendations and proposals," Yudhoyono said, adding he hoped the global economy would see a recovery next year.

(Additional reporting by Karima Anjani in Jakarta; editing by Sue Thomas)

Corruption watchdog to sue House over anti-graft bill

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 03/28/2009 10:53 AM

The Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) said Saturday it would file a suit and submit a distrust motion against the House of Representatives if it fails to deliver the Corruption Court bill by July.

“The House chairmen should evaluate the performance of the special committee on the bill,” ICW deputy coordinator EmersonYuntho, said in a press statement.

ICW, he said, was planning to push political contract or commitment with House factions to deliver the bill before the end of House members term and the presidential election in July.

The corruption watchdog also demand lawmakers to make sure the the new anti-corruption law to guarantee a maximum corruption eradication especially within the Corruption Eradication Commision and the Corruption Court.

In 2007, the Constitutional Court ruled that a new law on corruption courts be enacted by December 2009, failing which the existing Corruption Court would have to be dissolved for lack of a legal basis.

However, the House looks reluctant to complete the deliberation of the bill on time, sparking strong condemnation from antigraft groups.

With the legislative elections less than a month away, legislators have been accused of busying themselves with campaigning for reelection, rather than focusing on their duty to pass crucial laws, including this corruption court bill. (dre)

Friday, March 27, 2009

BI revises down economic growth estimate

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 03/27/2009 9:43 PM

The central bank has revised its estimate for the country’s economic expansion to between three to four percent or slower than the four to five percent growth expected earlier.

"Yes it's been revised. BI now uses the 3-4 percent forecast," said Bank Indonesia senior deputy governor Miranda S. Goeltom in Jakarta on Friday as quoted by Antara newswire.

Miranda said the economic growth strongly relied on the success of the stimulus plan. If the stimulus plan was successful economy would grow four percent but if it failed the economy would only grow around three percent, she said.

She said the economic downturn was not only caused by a drop in exports but also a decline in investment.

"Shortage of liquidity in the world has caused investment to decline and therefore we hope with the fiscal stimulus growth will be maintained positive," she said.

She said Indonesia was now the only country that still recorded positive growth. "If you would observe our country was the only one in the Asean region which remained blue," she said.

Regarding the impact of an export decline on the country's foreign exchange reserves and currency exchange rate, Miranda said it would not be very significant.

"Our country is not the one that requires exporters to put funds in the central bank and so the drop in exports would not directly affect Indonesia's foreign exchange reserves. It is different from Thailand and even China where exports are directly linked with foreign exchange reserves," she said.

She said it was the shortage of US dollar supply that would significantly affect the country's foreign exchange reserves.

Therefore, she said, various breakthroughs needed to be taken to reduce pressures on dollar demand in the midst of current tight liquidity.

She said one of the efforts that had been taken to ease pressure on the dollar demand so far was conducting a bilateral currency swap arrangement with China reaching up to Rp175 trillion or an equivalent of 100 billion reminbis.

About inflation Miranda said that it would tend to drop.

"What is clear is that inflation will drop," she said.

President to depart for G-20 summit in London

The Jakarta Post | Fri, 03/27/2009 7:00 PM

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will visit London from March 30 to April 2, 2009 to attend the G-20 Summit.

"The upcoming G-20 Summit is the second G-20 Summit after the first one in Washington DC, the United States, in November 2008, which was also attended by President Yudhoyono," Dino Patti Djalal, a presidential spokesman, said here on Friday.

The London Summit would be a follow up to the Washington meeting which had issued a Leaders' Declaration and Action Plan to deal with the global economic crisis, he said.

"The implication of the Leaders' Declaration is to encourage G-20 member countries to take the initiative in solving the ongoing global financial crisis with emphasize on efforts to solve the current crisis," he said.

The meeting would also identify efforts to be made by G-20 member countries to prevent a similar crisis from recurring in the future, he said.

"Indonesia has been pushing for efforts to make the second G-20 Summit more concrete and real in solving the global financial crisis and its impact on developing countries," he said.

The countries' leaders agreed on the need to have a rapid solution in dealing with the banking problem in the US and Europe, including toxic assets, the establishment of global expenditure support funds, and the global financial system reform, he said.

"While in London, the President is also scheduled to have bilateral meetings with several world leaders who will attend the G-20 Summit in London, including the Australian prime minister, the British prime minister, and the UN Secretary General, and the possibility of a meeting with President Barack Obama is still being explored," Djalal said.

President Yudhoyono is also scheduled to deliver a speech at the London School of Economic and Political Science (LSE) on March 31, 2009.

The head of state will leave London, on April 2, 2009.

RI seeks to reduce dollar dependency

Mustaqim Adamrah , The Jakarta Post , JAKARTA | Fri, 03/27/2009 9:42 AM

Indonesia has joined a growing list of countries calling for concerted efforts to reduce dependency on the US dollar amid the global drying-up of liquidity.

“There should be attempts by all countries to ease their dependency on United States dollars in their transactions … this is a global issue,” Bank Indonesia governor Boediono said Wednesday at the State Palace.

“I myself, and some others too, have proposed that the most practical thing (we can do) now is to expand the availability of SDRs — Special Drawing Rights. This will eventually become a global currency,” he added.

SDRs are a basket of major currencies used in international trade and finance, usually by multilateral agencies.

China has earlier this week called for a new global currency controlled by the IMF, as part of a reform of the world’s financial system which is currently heavily dominated by the US greenback.

China said it would pursue this issue in the upcoming G20 Summit in London.

Boediono spoke to reporters after a meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on the preparations for the summit, which will be held on April 1-2.

The call was made after Indonesia and China inked a Rp 175 trillion or 100 billion yuan (US$15 billion) currency swap on Monday partly as part of an effort to help boost confidence in the rupiah, which has been on a weakening slide of late, against the US dollar.

The swap deal is effective for three years and can be extended with the approval of both partners.

The swap is expected to provide short-term foreign exchange liquidity as well as bolstering the rupiah’s performance, help boost bilateral trade and investment and help stabilize the financial market.

According to BI, Indonesia exported $11.5 billion worth of goods to China last year — an 18.9 percent increase from the $9.68 billion booked in 2007 — while importing $15.2 billion from China, a leap of 77.6 percent from $8.56 billion recorded in 2007.

BI says Indonesia needs more funding to add to the country’s foreign exchange reserves, which stood at $53.9 billion as of March 13, with Boediono saying the central bank is “open” to the possibility of making similar currency swap agreements with other countries.

Boediono said Indonesia would benefit greatly from similar deals, pointing out that the agreement with China would help to eventually reduce the need for US dollars, as bilateral trade between the two nations could use local currencies under the swap deal.

A reduced need for dollars would mean a boost for the rupiah.

BI said the swap line was on top of the multilateral swap arrangement under the Chiang Mai Initiative, under which Indonesia is set to access for forex purposes at least $12 billion from Japan, $4 billion from China and $2 billion from South Korea.

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Dependence On Greenback Source Of Indonesia's Vulnerability



Indonesia GDP May Grow as Little as 3%, Pangestu Says

Bloomberg, By Shamim Adam

March 27 (Bloomberg) -- Indonesia’s economy may expand as little as 3 percent this year, the slowest in a decade, as exports slump and commodity prices plunge from record levels, Trade Minister Mari Pangestu said.

The value of overseas shipments may shrink between 15 percent and 20 percent in 2009, while the volume of exports may contract between 5 percent and 10 percent, Pangestu said in an interview in Singapore yesterday. Still, election spending and domestic consumption may support growth in Southeast Asia’s largest economy, she said.

Manufacturers in the U.S., Europe and Asia are struggling as the worst recession since World War II deepens, prompting the World Trade Organization to forecast a 9 percent plunge in global trade this year. Indonesia has unveiled a $6 billion stimulus to boost consumer spending as the global slowdown pummels the nation’s exports.

“There has been a sharp drop in demand from the U.S., Europe and Japan, but China and India has been a bit more stable,” Pangestu said. “If we can maintain domestic consumption growth, our economy can grow at a minimum of 3 percent. If all the fiscal stimulus works, that can go up to 4 percent to 4.5 percent.”

The government expects the $433 billion economy to expand 4.5 percent this year after climbing 6.1 percent in 2008, while the central bank is predicting 4 percent growth. An expansion of 3 percent this year would be the slowest since the economy grew 0.8 percent in 1999, according to data from the International Monetary Fund.

Exports Plunge

Indonesian exports fell the most in more than 22 years in January, plunging 35.5 percent to $7.15 billion. In neighboring Singapore, overseas shipments have dropped for 10 consecutive months, while Japan, the biggest buyer of Indonesian goods, saw its exports decline a record 49 percent in February.

Overseas sales in February probably were between $7 billion and $8 billion, and may average around that level every month for most of this year, Pangestu said. Exporters shipped $136.76 billion of goods last year. The Central Statistics Bureau will release the next trade report on April 1.

While overseas sales volumes of coal and palm oil have remained steady, exports of metals continue to slow, she said. Indonesia is the world’s biggest palm oil producer and the largest exporter of power-station coal.

‘All Hit’

“Anything to do with steel, automotive and electronics are all being affected,” Pangestu said. “Metals that are used for construction or electronics are all hit.”

Steel output in Indonesia probably fell 40 percent in the first quarter this year from a year ago, according to a newspaper report this week that cited Hidajat Triseputro, executive director of the Indonesian Iron and Steel Industry Association.

The decline in exports and its impact on unemployment in both rural communities and cities is a big concern, Pangestu said. Still, election spending is helping boost revenues for hotels, restaurants and garment and printing firms as political parties travel across the country to woo voters, she said.

Indonesians go to the polls on April 9, and parties which win 20 percent of parliament’s 560 seats will be able to nominate a candidate for the presidential election in July.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shamim Adam in Singapore at sadam2@bloomberg.net


Dependence On Greenback Source Of Indonesia's Vulnerability

Bernama, March 27, 2009 11:03 AM

JAKARTA, March 27 (Bernama) -- The world's dependence on the greenback to conduct international transactions is now seen by some bankers not only as a basic factor contributing to the global financial crisis but also as a source of Indonesia's economic vulnerability, Indonesia's Antara news agency reported Friday.

"The dependence of many countries including Indonesia on the US dollar to make all kinds of international transactions is actually one of the sources of our economic vulnerability," Indonesia's Central Bank Governor Budiono said here recently.

However, according to him, it was difficult for many countries to end their dependence on the greenback in the foreseeable future.

"I think not many countries are able to free themselves from the domination of the US dollar in international transactions," he said.

In Boediono's view, the sources of vulnerability to be faced by remaining dependent on the use of the US dollar is firstly marked by the country's reliance on high US dollar liquidity against the domestic economy or, in other words, the liquidity is restricted by the US economy.

"The amount of available liquidity to make economic transactions depends on the US domestic economy. If that country is reluctant to provide such relaxing liquidity, it will certainly affect the currency of countries fully depending on the greenback often sucked in by the US government under the current circumstances," he said.

Secondly, the dependence will make the exchange rate unstable following the existing sharp depreciation of the currency as a result of economic crisis.

There is a worry in the future that the US dollar will record a sharp decrease following much dollar bailed out by the US government to recover from the ongoing economic crisis.

"The exchange rate of greenback which cannot be predicted in addition to unstable liquidity is also deemed as the cause of vulnerability," Budiono said.

He further said that many developing countries had fallen victims of the greenback's depreciation.

In fact, they never made anything wrong with their economy, but at a sudden there economy deteriorate as a result of unstable condition of greenback like at present time.

In response to this condition, Yuliashar, a high ranking official at BCA bank, said the establishment of the world currency was needed to internationally overcome the constraints being faced.

For example, bilateral trade will no longer affected by the condition of the domestic economy of the United States which tends to create instability to exchange rate.

In addition to the establishment of international currency like special drawing rights (SDR), which could be used for international trade transaction, he also expressed the need to diversify the use of other currency instead of the greenback for international transaction.

Yuliashar further stressed that bilateral swap agreement between Indonesia and China's central bank that was signed on Monday was of many steps that could be taken by Indonesia to reduce this overall dependency on greenback.

"It is dangerous for the world to rely on one or two national currencies to serve global transactions," he said, adding, "With the bilateral swap transaction, settlement between two countries can be directly done without having to convert to US dollars first, thus it can decrease dollar dependency."

According to Yuliashar, the outbreak of the crisis and its spillover to the entire world reflected the inherent vulnerabilities and systemic risks in the existing international monetary system.

Again Boediono reiterated that the current US economic crisis was negatively affecting global liquidity.

"Problems arise when the deleveraging process in the US sucks in and dries up liquidity, hampering trade and investment in other countries," he said.

During his visit to China, both Boediono and his Chinese counterpart Zhou suggested using the IMF's Special Drawing Rights, or SDR, as a super-sovereign reserve currency.

The IMF created the SDR in 1969 as an international reserve asset, but its use is limited.

"However, the problem we have is convincing all countries to accept the SDR as an international currency," Boediono said, adding, "It will take time. Another way is endorsing more national currencies to be used as global currencies."

The central bank governor said it appeared that China was gradually positioning the yuan as an acceptable alternative international currency to the dollar.

He noted that China has also signed swap deals with Malaysia for 80 billion yuan, North Korea for 180 billion yuan, and Hong Kong for 200 billion yuan and even Belarus for 20 billion yuan.

Boediono said China's swap agreement with Indonesia could help decrease dollar demand for imported goods and investment.

He also said trade between the two countries continued to increase, noting that in 2008 total non-oil and gas exports to China totalled $7.77 billion, while imports topped $14.99 billion.

"Based on these amounts, if traders use the swap facility, then US dollar demand will decline significantly," Boediono said, adding, "We already met with traders from China and they are very exited about the agreement."

Currently, Bank Indonesia and the People's Bank of China are drafting regulations for traders who want to use the swap facility. The central bank is also seeking to sign swap agreements with other nations with which Indonesia trades.

At present, Indonesia's foreign exchanges reserves stand at about $53 billion, down from $60.56 billion in July 2008. The reserve is used for money market intervention to stabilize the rupiah, paying for imports and foreign loans.

-- BERNAMA

China says industrial profits down 37 percent

The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Beijing | Fri, 03/27/2009 11:27 AM

Profits at China's oil producers, steel makers and other major industrial companies fell sharply in January and February as sales were battered by the global economic crisis, data showed Friday.

The data highlighted the impact of China's downturn on even its biggest companies despite a multibillion-dollar government stimulus plan.

Hardest-hit were producers of aluminum and other nonferrous metals, which suffered a net loss of 1.9 billion yuan ($277 million), the National Bureau of Statistics said. It said the iron and steel industry suffered a net loss of 770 million yuan ($112 million), though the biggest producers have said they were still profitable.

China's overall economic growth slowed to 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter from 2007's stunning 13 percent rate as exports plunged and domestic sales of real estate, autos and other goods weakened. Independent economists expect growth as low as 5 percent this year, which would be the fastest for any major economy but would hurt companies that rely on rapid growth in exports and investment.

The country's central bank governor said in an essay released Thursday that data suggest the growth decline is slowing and point to a recovery, though he gave no details.

Beijing's 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus is expected to benefit major companies as it pumps money into the economy through spending on public works. But exports are falling and growth in consumer demand is weakening.

The government has announced aid plans for 10 industries including steel, shipbuilding, electronics and auto manufacturing. They are promised tax cuts, money to improve technology and other aid.

Total profits for the biggest Chinese industrial companies - those with annual revenues above 500 billion yuan ($7.3 billion) - were 219.1 billion yuan ($32 billion) in January and February, the statistics bureau said.

Profits for producers of electronics and telecommunications gear plunged 96.3 percent in January and February, the bureau said. Those for oil and gas producers dropped 86.1 percent.

Profits for the power industry fell 77 percent, the bureau said.

China reports most data for January and February as one unit due to the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday, which falls at different times in that period each year, making direct month-to-month comparisons difficult.

Oil and power companies have been squeezed by government controls that at times bar them from passing on higher costs for crude and coal.

The country's biggest oil producer, PetroChina Ltd., said this week its 2008 profit fell 22 percent compared with 2007, though it still reported annual earnings of 114.4 billion yuan ($16.7 billion).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Barun Roy: Little Singapore?

If Indonesia can keep up its political will, a new business centre will emerge in Asia

Business Standard, Barun Roy / New Delhi March 26, 2009, 0:30 IST

If Indonesia can keep up its political will, we're going to see a new business centre emerge in Asia.

One could perhaps call it the slowest-moving development project in Asia, but it’s finally ready for take-off. Last January, ending four decades of foot-dragging, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono officially launched the island of Batam and its two sisters, Bintan and Karimun (BBK), in the Riau Archipelago, as a free-trade zone that, he hopes, would one day emerge as Indonesia’s own Singapore.

That ambition was first voiced in the 1970s, after Pertamina, the Indonesian oil company, started to use Batam as an exploration base, but a confirmation of the islands’ future as a free-trade zone didn’t come before 1989, and it has taken another two decades to make that intention official. In the Asian context, that’s terrible. During that period, while Indonesia was sleeping, Asia’s other islands have surged far forward. Singapore has become a massive economic power, Penang has emerged as one of Asia’s largest electronics manufacturing bases, Langkawi has gone from a sleepy backwater to a major tourist hotspot, and Phuket has come to be ranked as one of the world’s top five retirement spots, besides being a fabled global tourist destination.

Of course, BBK has made progress, too, but only a snail’s progress. Being only a 40-minute ferry ride from Singapore — to its south, part of a sprawl of some 3,000 islands — some Singaporean business has inevitably washed up on its shores and some foreign companies have followed suit. For them, BBK is a useful alternative, where costs are low and space isn’t a problem. There are factories making electronic components, leather goods, garments, toys, consumer and household products, and quite a few shipyards. In fact, some 1,000 foreign and 10,000 local companies are there on BBK already. But their total investments don’t amount to much. And, though BBK’s year-round tropical weather already draws some 2 million visitors a year, it’s still not considered a mainstream tourist destination.

This might now change. The Indonesian president’s seal on the islands’ future, ending their status as only a bonded area, should remove doubts from investors’ minds. The basic physical infrastructure is in place — seaports (as many as 14), good roads, cable-stayed bridges connecting the main islands, a modern airport with a runway longer than Jakarta’s — and a whole new planned city, called Batam Centrum, is being built as an integrated office-shopping-residential complex just across the sea from Singapore. The development goals are now clearer than ever in the past: Batam as a shipyard and electronic base, Bintan as a textile, leather, and leisure complex, and Karimun as a centre for agricultural and marine products development.

On top of everything, Jakarta has chosen Singapore to play the role of a mentor and guide BBK’s development. For foreign investors, there can’t be a better reassurance. According to an agreement between the two countries, Singapore will help develop special economic zones on BBK, frame investor-friendly rules, screen investment proposals. Singapore has the expertise and the experience. This will surely make people take a serious look at BBK as a manufacturing, trading, services, and tourism hub. The Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans are on the prowl, and of course the Singaporeans and Malaysians too. Batam’s shop-house hotels are giving in to dazzling five-star ones. Italian-based oil contractor, Saipem Indonesia, has got a 70-year land concession to start a massive project on Karimun. In April, work will begin on BBK’s second integrated tourism-cum-business resort — on Batam, the first one being on Bintan — that will cost $193 million to build and will include a 6,000-seat convention centre.

Two kinds of investors, in particular, will take a special interest in BBK: Those from Singapore itself and those who have an operational base in the island republic. For them, especially for Singapore’s manufacturing and service companies seeking to relocate their relatively lower-value activities, BBK is an ideal shunting yard. Links with Singapore are already very close. Half of BBK investors are Singaporeans; 65 per cent of BBK imports come from, and 69 per cent of BBK exports go to, Singapore; 70 per cent of BBK tourists are from there; and thousands of Singapore labourers take the ferry every day to go to work across the sea.

Clearly, Jakarta wants BBK to learn the ropes from Singapore and be an engine of Indonesia’s growth, while Singapore wants its island neighbours to grow as a complementary production facility. The aims of both countries are thus nicely matched. It’s late in the game and too many valuable years have been wasted, but BBK has at last come back on track. If things don’t go terribly wrong and Indonesia can keep up its political will, we’re going to see a new business centre emerge in Asia that has the potential to grow up as Singapore’s little brother. It has the space. Now it’s going to have the momentum, provided mainly by the big brother across the sea.

G20 preparation

ANTARA, 26 March 2009

President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (2nd left), Coordinator minister of economic Sri Mulyani, Governor Bank of Indonesia Boediono, and State secretary minister Hatta Rajasa in meeting to discuss preparation for attend G20 meeting, in Jakarta, Wednesday (Mar 25). (ANTARA photo/Widodo S Jusuf)

Related Article:

G20 must act on economy - Brown

G-20 summit: Yudhoyono hopes for change to 'economic infrastructure'


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Capital unity `will take ages'

Ika Krismantari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 03/25/2009 1:09 PM

Indonesia has cast doubt on the viability of an integrated capital market among ASEAN member states by 2015, citing regulatory differences.

Lack of a common regulatory framework shared between states was among the daunting factors dampening the realization of the plan, chairman of the capital market and financial institution supervisory agency (Bapepam-LK) Fuad Rahmany said during a seminar Tuesday.


JP/Irma

He added there was so much to be done before being able to realize the dream of having a single integrated capital market in the ASEAN region by the 2015 deadline.

"I don't know whether this can be achieved by 2015; we're still at the discussion stage," he said.

He also said that among the obstacles was a way to synchronize the regulations that were issued by each member country.

This included policies relating to taxation, investor protection and dispute settlements.

Most ASEAN member states have inherited deep-rooted legal systems from their former colonial occupiers, making it difficult to adopt a single regulation to suit all needs.

The Indonesian legal system, for instance, is heavily influenced by that of the Netherlands, while the legal systems of Singapore and Malaysia are closely linked to that on the United Kingdom, and the system in the Philippines resembles that in the United States.

ASEAN has embarked on an ambitious plan to have an integrated capital market under its ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) blueprint.

Under the single integrated capital market system, investors and companies in ASEAN countries can freely trade securities in any market at competitive costs.

There will also be an ASEAN virtual bourse, known as the ASEAN linkage, which will act as a single stock market featuring the region's top 200 companies.

The ASEAN linkage is scheduled for a launch next year.

"It may not be realized. Harmonizing each of the members' regulations will take ages," Fuad said.

However, he said Indonesia would remain committed to forming the capital market integration because such a system was deemed inevitable.

"The globalized market is heading to a more integrated system. And as part of the community, we support it."

Former Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission chairman and chief adviser to the China Banking Regulatory Commission, Andrew Sheng, said the capital market integration should be prioritized during this time of crisis.

He said ASEAN could use the moment to rise as a new power to possibly replace the Western market system, which was losing credibility.

"By having a combined market force, we will have more liquidity and a bigger scale to be able to compete globally," he said.