Last Thursday [11/7] Bank Indonesia made a daring and aggressive decision by increasing BI rate and Fasbi rate by 50 basic points respectively to become 6.5% and 4.75%. The policy was rated as an aggressive step, because normally the increased interest was only 25 bps. This time it was different, BI directly increased by 50 bps.
It seemed that BI was trying to be more aggressive in taming inflation which tend to turn wild after oil price increase last June which coincided with the Ramadhan fasting month which, cycle wise, was a time of high consumption.
BI also acted promptly to rescue Rupiah from sinking any deeper from the feared psychological level of Rp10,000 per USD. Moreover in the past one month BI had spent around USD 7 billion to project Rupiah without satisfactory result.
In the recent development it was worthwhile to see macro economic indicators of the second semester till year end. As reference, result of the meeting of the Board of Governors [RDG] on July 11, 2013 last decided to increase BI rate by 50 bps to become 6.5% with Deposit Facility Interest increasing by 50 bps to become 4.75% and Lending Facility Interest to stay at 6.75%.
The policy was adopted to make sure that inflation after increased of subsidized oil could be brought back on the right track. In tandem with the said measures, BI also strengthened policy mix.
Firstly, to continue stabilization of Rupiah value in accordance with the fundamental economy and maintain liquidity sufficiency in the forex market. Rupiah value would be maintained to be below Rp10.000,- per USD and implicitly BI was moving in that direction.
Secondly, to improve rules on loan-to-value [LTV] ratio of the property sector related to mortgage of houses and apartments certain types. This was follow up policy to prevent bubble in the properry sector to consider that pricing of houses of type 70 and up was getting out if control. In case of houses below type 70, it should be regulated more intensively to prevent bubble in this sector.
Thirdly to foster coordination with the Government with objective of easing inflation and maintain macro-economic and financial stability. BI felt certain that the policy mix was right and proper to control inflation, maintain stability of Rupiah and financial system so economic growth could be maintained and move on the right track.
BI saw that global economy still tend to slowdown and full of uncertainty. US economic growth was predicted not to be as strong as estimated, although production and consumption was showing improvement.
Economic problem in Europe had not shown any notable improvement; meanwhile economic growth in China and India was seen as lower than projected although still notably high.
Based on the assumptions, it might be concluded that world’s economic growth in 2013 would be less than prediction to become 3.2% as foreseen by IMF. At the same time the world’s commodity prices also tend to drop except oil.
Speculation in regard to tapering of monetary stimulus by the fed had also influenced global economic condition resulting in capital reversal in the emerging markets.
Although the Governor on the Fed, Ben Bernanke, corrected his initial statement on May 22 last [to gradually reduce fiscal stimulus package] by continuing the stimulus package with buying bonds of the Government, response from the global moneymarket was still not clear. Evidently in Indonesia through June last month there was release of SBN State Promissory Notes [SBN] to foreign investors worth USD 4.1 billion.
BI also projected Indonesia’s economic growth 2013 in the range of 5.8% - 6.2%, lower than the previous forecast of 6.2% - 6.6%. Beside slow economic growth in quarter II and III – 2013 i.e. 5.9% respectively, the low on account of low performing export due to global economic slowdown and falling price of global commodities. Household consumption and investment were also predicted to be slightly held back by lessened purchasing power due to low export growth was projected fuel price. Indonesia’s economic growth was projected to recover by quarter IV – 2013 and to continue in 2014 which was expected to be in the range of 6.4% - 6.8%.
On the external side, Indonesia’s balance of payment [NPI] in quarter II/2013 was predicted to book lesser deficit compared to previous quarter. Improvement of NPI was supported by sizable surplus in capital and financial transaction [TMF] after having deficit in quarter I/2013. Surplus of TMF was supported by inflow of direct investment and portofolio investment in line with better economic prospect of the future. On the other hand, by its seasonal platform deficit in current transaction was predicted to increase against the previous quarters.
Export was still under pressure due to low buyer’s demand and downturn of world’s commodity price while import, including that of oil-gas was still on the upturn. Forex reserves by end of June 2013 was posted at USD 98.1 billion or equal to 5.4 months of import and payment of Government’s overseas debt, which was thankfully still above international CAR standard of 3 months.
Meanwhile Rupiah exchange rate value in quarter II-2013 was being depreciated according to its fundamental value. By point-to-point, Rupiah weakened by 2.09% [qtq] to become Rp9,925 per USD or on the averages weakening by 1.03 qtq to become Rp9,781 per USD.
Just like currency depreciation some Asian countries, depreciation of Rupiah was on account of ownership adjustment of non residential areas in the domestic financial asset as related to tapering off of monetary stimulus by the Fed. This development resulted in Asia. BI saw that development of monetary exchange rate today still reflected today’s fundamental economic condition of Indonesia.
In June 2013 inflation went up significantly at 1.03% [m t m] or 5.90% [y o y]. This inflation increase, which was in accordance with BI’s estimate was triggered by increased fuel price which coincided with Idul Fitri which also jacked up prices of administered prices and volatile foof prices.
Meanwhile core inflation was still under control at 3.98%. BI estimated that the effect of oil price increase was only temporary, i.e. around 3 months, the peak being July 2013, and down again by August 2013 to be back to normal platform in September 2013.
Bi had been observing and responding accurately inflation pressures after oil price increase, and together with the Government intensifying measures in strengthening mitigation of the after effect of fuel price increase on inflation. All the measures taken were expected to shockbreak inflation pressures whereby to move down to the targeted 4.5% - 1% level in 2014.
Noteworthy was the projection of Indonesia’s economic growth this year about which most of The Forum for Financial Stability and Coordination System [FKSSK] was not as optimistic as the Government in setting growth of 6.3% this year. Beside the Government as represented by the Ministry of Finance, FKSSK also consisted of BI, Financial Service Authority [OJK] and Deposit Insurance Body [LPS].
OJK saw that Indonesia’s economic growth this year would only be 6%. Meanwhile BI projected economic growth of 2013 would only be around 5.8% - 6.2%. BI was constantly revising their projections. Initially BI projected economic growth 2013 at around 6.3% - 6.8% in January. Furthermore in April BI revised again their projection to 6.2% - 6.6%. This June again BI revised economic growth projection to 5.8% - 6.2%. Meanwhile LPS as member of FKSSK was the most pessimistic in projection Indonesia’s economic growth this year. By end of June, LPS disclosed they believed Indonesia’s economic growth would be only 5.8% in 2013.
The reason was that Indonesia’s economic growth this year was facing a great challenge which was even greater than that of last year. Like it or not household consumption should be the main supporter of economic growth, in spite of the potential to weaken as purchasing power of the low income group was burdened by higher fuel price and commodity prices.
Nevertheless household consumption was still the main supporter to growth as other propeller factors like Government’s consumption, investment, and international trading were not so reliable this year. Only thing was contribution by consumption would probably lessen due to reduced people’s purchasing power after oil price increase. Purchasing power for goods after fuel price increase was lowered by around 30%. Such would certainly lower economic growth by end of year.
It seemed reasonable that performance of household consumption would be suppressed by inflation which was predictably high. Through 2013, BI projected inflation held the risk of reaching 7.8%. LPs even predicted this year inflation had the risk of reaching 8.1%. Inflation tend to reduce people’s purchasing power which would eventually suppress household consumption.
BI estimated that inflation of July 2013 could reach 2.38%. The increased inflation was on account of increased price of oil which was effective on June 22, 2013. Inflation of July 2013 was the highest level this year, because increased fuel price would trigger inflation for the next 4 months. Somehow inflation in August 2013 would be predictably inch down to 0.93%, while inflation in September 2013 would only be 0.1%.
For that matter in one year inflation would come to 7.2% - 7.8%. The predicted inflation of 7.8% was the worst prediction if the Government failed to procure food and keep up with increased transportation cost and availability of LPG gas fuel in the market; but if Government was able to tackle the said problems, inflation this year would be controlled at 7.2%.
In terms of Government’s consumption, low realization of Government expenditure until Semester I/2013 was hard to bring extra push to economic growth. In Semester I this year, state’s expenditure was only realized at 39.9% which was lower than that of the same period last year which was 40.7%.
The Minister of Finance through the Evaluation Team of Budget Absorption Control must constantly remind ministries and institutions to enhance absorption of budget already allocated for some development projects.
This step must be followed by budget spenders who still had their budget suspended by the paymaster to clear the blockade. The Ministry of Finance as the State’s Treasurer must actively pursue the requirements not fulfilled by budget users which caused their budget to be blockade.
On the investment side, this year the Government was pessimistic about investment growth. This was indicated by the sullen import performance of capital goods. On the export-import side, there was still deficit in trade balance to the amount of USD 2,53 billion through January – May 2013. The economic condition Europe and the USA, also posed as handicap to Indonesia’s economic growth on the export side.
Somehow BI and the Government must focus effort on economic growth while controlling inflation and Rupiah value to be on the new equilibrium after oil price increase so the indicator of macro economy being set could be credible in the eyes of the public, including market players. (SS)
Business News - July 17,2013