Around two-thirds of adult men smoke in Indonesia, one of the world’s largest and least regulated tobacco markets. The government in Jakarta has tried to introduce legislation to restrict advertising but the proposals have been watered down after industry lobbying. The FT’s Ben Bland talks to smokers, lobbyists and health campaigners about why smoking is still so popular.
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 »
Ashmore Group, the London-based emerging markets specialist fund manager, is pushing to get ahead in the race to manage the money of increasingly-affluent EM savers.
On Friday it said it would open an office in Indonesia, which becomes the 10th country with an Ashmore base and the seventh EM. Clearly, the bulls at Ashmore think recent fears of possible bubbles in southeast Asian asset markets aren’t worth worrying about. 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.
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 »
After last month’s rather gloomy reading, March’s HSBC/Markit manufacturing indices for Asia have a far more positive hue.
In fact, all 6 countries with data released on Monday were above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction – and only India saw a fall in the reading. That’s not bad at all. 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 »
Foreign direct investment into the Asean countries has risen strongly in the past few years and is now on a par with FDI into China. As Hak Bin Chua, Asean economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch writes in a report on Friday, this “is in sharp contrast to a decade ago, when there were widespread fears that Asean would be marginalised by China’s rise.”
The change is partly a result of political issues such as recent territorial tensions between Japan and China which are diverting some Japanese investment south. But is is also driven by social and economic factors such as demographics that will not change direction any time soon. Continue reading »
It’s traffic clogged streets are some of the most difficult and slow to navigate anywhere, but that’s not stopped the flood of businesses setting up offices or expanding in Jakarta.
The limited amount of prime office space – and the desire to beat the traffic by staying as close to the centre as possible – has seen Jakarta office rents shoot up by almost 80 per cent in the past year. Continue reading »
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