Tuesday, 15 January 2013


In the effort to overcome economic slowdown of a nation, the thinkable step was to jack up activities of the real sector through a strategy called quantitative easing [QE]. Essentially quantitative easing was a stimulus package thrown by the Central Bank to buy state bonds so the Government could gather some fund to propel the real sector. The recipe was still strengthened with other efforts such as lowering bank as low as possible.

In the USA quantitative easing had been exercised three times, the last being on September 2012 last. QE of the thirds phase which was started by the Fed was worth 40 billion USD for buying bonds of the US Government each month until unemployment figure in America fell to the level of 7% from the present 8.1%. BN also kept interest rate at low level in the range of 0 – 0.25% Some other countries were also lowering their interest rate to propel the real sector such Korea who lowered their interest rate by 3% Australia 3.5%, China 5% and Japan 0.1%.

So over the past week, sentiment of the global money market Indonesia no exception was showing a new spirit after losing steam on August last, thanks to release of new stimuli by central banks in leading countries of the world.

In the first week of September, the European Central Bank [ECB] announced execution of a policy called Outright Monetary Transaction [OMT]. Next in the second week the Fed, America’s Central Bank confirmed their plan to inject liquidity through their policy known as Quantitative Easing [QE] of the Third Phase Worth USD 40 billion each month till indefinite time limit.

Many circles at home were expecting the stimulus would bring positive import on Indonesia’s economy. Lesson was learned from the first stimulus [QE1] and stimulus [QE 3] by the Fed in November 2008 till July 2011 brought positive impact on Indonesia’s economy.

The stimulus had its direct impact on the monetary sector and indirect impact on the trade sector. Total amount injected by the Fed came to USD 2.5 trillion, making prices of various assets in the global money market rise significantly after crashing dramatically when Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008. In the rising trend Indonesia’s money market was no exception. Through the QF 1 and QF 2 period many assets in Rupiah posted capital gain significantly.

Beside the money market, the trading sector was also benefited. Indonesia’s export recorded their best performance, being advantaged by increasing commodity prices. The increased global liquidity also jacked up realization of foreign investment (PMA) in Indonesia to increase by up to 85%.

In short, the QE 1 and QE 2 served as driving force quite significantly in Indonesia. The end result was the fact that Indonesia could grow by 6.14% in 2010 and 6.5% in 2011. With the coming QF3 the same great impact was expected to happen. At least the direct impact in the monetary sector was seen in the latest index of IHSG at 4,257

The same trend seen in the bond market, where return of SUN State Promissory Notes gradually descended. But this time timing of Q3 injection was rated by many parties as not as good as QF 1 and QF 2 when the economy of China as the economic locomotive of Asia and the world was growing as high as above 9%. Today China’s economy was slowing down, predictably only growing by 7.5%.

The economic slowdown in China kept commodity prices from increasing the way it happened when QE 1 and QE 2 was launched. As known, China was the greatest consumer of commodity product in the world together with the USA. All in all Indonesia’s export which had been on the downturn since last year, was still not being advantaged by improved commodity prices as long as China’s economy had not returned to its original fast track.

Now it was time to pin hope on realization of Foreign Investment (PMA) as well as domestic investment (PMDN) which would serve as propeller of economy beside people’s consumption. So far direct investment continued to exceed target and was evidently supportive to sustain national economic growth. One thing was sure increased investment might compensate the slow moving export performance in Indonesia.

Although QE 3 and injections by other banks in this near future was not strong enough to give a big drive as strong as the past injections, at least it could help Indonesia’s economy to grow above 6% for a while.

Propeller force of growth be stronger if Government’s expenditure were spurred on. By percentage, apparently in quarter 2 this year Government spending was showing increase from 6.1% to 6.9%. if this rhythm could be maintained Indonesia stands a change to grow at least by 6.3% this year.

The banking sector had contributed significantly through notably high credit growth of around 25% of which most of the bigger portion was in the form of productive credit, i.e. investment credit and working capital. Contribution of the financial sector could be greater if there were positive perception and expectation in regard to Quantitative Easing by some countries especially the USA.

Optimism and positive expectation would motivate the business world to make expansion by increasing production capacity amidst liquidity and well maintained Capital adequacy Ratio. Resilience of the Indonesian Banking Sector was also rated as being in good condition to cope with the restlessness of global economy.

The money markets of the emerging countries were predicted to be stormed by foreign capital. Local currencies were appreciated while the stock markets and sell part of their shares trough Initial Public Offering. The fund raised would be re-invested for business development.

All in all the economic heartbeat would beat faster and stronger and economic projections would envisage more growth. With growing market and rising middle class of high purchasing power, Indonesia appeared to be attractive to foreign investors. Such was the scenario of impact of the Qualitative Easing in some countries on Indonesia’s economy

Business News - September 28, 2012

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