As a major emitter of greenhouse gasses from deforestation and the caretaker of a large chunk of the world’s remaining tropical forest, Indonesia finds itself at the top of the United Nations’ climate change agenda.
Yet despite a pledge by Norway to give the country $1bn as part of the UN’s landmark programme to reduce emissions from deforestation (REDD), progress has been painfully slow because of weak governance and rampant corruption. Continue reading »
Aerosmith wrote a hit single about “Livin’ on the Edge” but it seems that Jakarta, which has one of Southeast Asia’s hottest live music scenes, is just a little bit too edgy for the ageing US rockers.
The Bad Boys from Boston, as they are called, have cancelled their planned gig in Jakarta this Saturday because of unspecified safety concerns, disappointing the more than 12,000 fans who had bought tickets and representatives of Indonesia’s burgeoning concert promotion industry. Continue reading »
Predicting when Indonesia’s gingerly President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will take a tough decision is a fool’s game.
Despite suggestions from his ministers and advisers on Monday that he would finally announce a long-discussed hike in the price of subsidised fuel, on Tuesday, SBY (as he is universally known) stepped back from the brink once again. Continue reading »
When is a new policy not a new policy? When it’s introduced by the Indonesian government, which has a tendency to rush out new measures with minimal consultation, sparking protests from those affected and eventually leading officials to backtrack with all the elegance of Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk. Continue reading »
You’re attacked as a lame duck president, nearing the end of your second and final term. Your political party is mired in corruption scandals and infighting. And your government is under fire over a growing list of policy missteps. So what do you do to salvage your reputation? Join Twitter of course.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the Indonesian president universally known as SBY, surprised many when he took the plunge into the back-biting world of social media on Saturday. Continue reading »
Despite a deteriorating current account, downward pressure on the rupiah and an upward tick in inflation, Indonesia’s central bank decided to keep its benchmark interest rate on hold at a historic low of 5.75 per cent on Thursday.
While some economists, led by the bears at Credit Suisse, have warned that southeast Asia’s biggest economy is showing signs of overheating, Bank Indonesia seems more interested in stoking growth. Continue reading »
Bribes at the ready?
A YouTube video appearing to show a Bali traffic policeman teasing a bribe out of an undercover Dutch journalist who had been riding a scooter without a helmet or licence has sparked an online outrage in Indonesia.
The clip has been seen more than 1.2m times since it was posted on April 1, with many online commenters lambasting the policeman for damaging Indonesia’s image by extorting money from a foreign visitor. But is this just a not-so-shocking dose of reality? Continue reading »
Reverse the recent protectionist trend, invest more in infrastructure, improve the quality of policy-making, cut energy subsidies. Even the World Bank admits that it’s starting to sound like a broken record in Indonesia, according to Jim Brumby, its lead country economist.
But, while concerns about complacency undermining Indonesia’s economic boom are not new, the World Bank believes the risks to growth are getting greater. Continue reading »
It’s bad news for consumers and the government but good news for traders (and vampires). Indonesia is suffering from a garlic shortage and prices have skyrocketed as a result, up by an average of 31 per cent in February alone.
Indonesians like to eat garlic and the surge in prices, which contributed to higher than expected inflation last month, will make life particularly tough for the nearly half of Indonesian’s 240m people who live on less than two dollars a day. Continue reading »
Happy shoppers. Photo: Bloomberg
Roll up, roll up. Come and flog your wares to Indonesia’s fast growing mass of “young and upcoming but sweet and innocent” middle-class consumers, which will expand from 74m people today to 140m by 2020.
That is the message from Boston Consulting Group, the latest management consultancy to issue a bullish report on the potential of Indonesia’s new consumers. Continue reading »
As policy making in Indonesia becomes subordinated to capricious electioneering ahead of national polls in 2014, the economic challenges are getting tougher.
Chatib Basri, head of the government’s investment coordinating board (BKPM), likes to call his country the “least unattractive market in the world” at the moment, with strong domestic demand keeping GDP growth above 6 per cent despite a range of macro-economic concerns. But the latest inflation and trade data released on Friday point to the risk that Indonesia could become more unattractive to investors. Continue reading »
When news broke over the weekend that Indonesia’s president was proposing to move Agus Martowardojo, the highly regarded finance minister, to the less influential role of central bank governor, most political observers in Jakarta sensed dark forces at play.
Since replacing ousted fellow reformist Sri Mulyani Indrawati in 2010, Martowardojo had clashed on a number of occasions with vested interests in the political and business elite who were unhappy about his desire to keep a tight grip on the national purse-strings. Continue reading »
In recent years, commentators have cited the strong yen and anaemic domestic growth as key drivers of surging investment by Japanese companies in southeast Asia.
With the yen having weakened by over 10 per cent against the dollar since prime minister Shinzo Abe was elected in December with a mandate to re-inflate the moribund Japanese economy, will the tide of Japanese investment into Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam recede? Continue reading »
Football is far and away the most popular sport in Indonesia and, with the domestic game in a sorry state, clubs from the English Premier League are looking to cash in.
In the latest round, Arsenal have just announced that they will play a friendly match against a national team in July, marking the team’s return to the country after a 31-year absence. Continue reading »
With economic nationalism and government interference on the rise in the run up to Indonesia’s elections in 2014, investors keep complaining about the deteriorating investment climate.
But, according to the latest figures from Indonesia’s investment co-ordinating board (BKPM), direct investment by foreigners and Indonesian continues to reach new record levels. Continue reading »