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Central bank cuts overnight interest rate JAKARTA - Indonesia's central bank on Monday cut its intervention rate for rupiah deposited overnight by 25 basis points to 11.25 percent, the lowest in 27 months, citing slowing inflation.
Bank Indonesia sets intervention rates - the interest rate it pays commercial banks to hold money on deposit - in daily intervals from overnight to seven days. This is the second cut in the overnight rate so far this year.
Indonesia has been guiding borrowing costs lower since January 2002 in an effort to encourage consumer spending. Lower interest rates are key to Jakarta's efforts to spur economic growth that is forecast at 4 percent this year.
International donors say Indonesia needs to expand at a 6 percent annual rate to create sufficient jobs in the economy. An estimated 40 million of Indonesia's 212 million people are unemployed.
Still, the central bank signaled last week that the pace of interest rate declines would probably slow this year because the Iraq war could weaken Indonesia's currency as global economic growth slows.
The dollar rose 0.11 percent to 8,900 rupiah on Monday. The currency fell to a four-month low after the start of the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. The decline in the exchange rate prompted the Indonesian central bank to signal its readiness to defend the currency in the event of a further drop by the rupiah.
Bank Indonesia expects the rupiah will trade at 8,800 to 9,200 against the dollar this year. The government is targeting an average exchange rate of 9,000 rupiah versus the dollar this year for budgeting purposes.

Slower growth is estimated

The Indonesian central bank has estimated that the country's first-quarter economic growth slowed to 3.2 percent from 3.8 percent in the final three months of last year as consumer spending declined.
Fourth-quarter growth in 2002 slowed from 4.3 percent in the third quarter, the Indonesian central bank said, as tourism decreased after a terrorist bombing on the resort island of Bali in October. Tourism generates 5 percent of all economic activity in Indonesia.
Exports and investments continued to increase in the first quarter, but only slightly, the central bank said. Indonesian exports rose an estimated 1.7 percent from a year earlier while imports gained 2.6 percent. In the first quarter of 2002, growth was 2.7 percent.



Posted in Economy @ 08 April 2003 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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