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Bank Indonesia may raise rates depending on inflation JAKARTA - Indonesia's central bank will maintain a "tight-biased" monetary policy in the coming months which means its key interest rate may remain at 12.75 percent or be increased, Governor Burhanuddin Abdullah said. Bank Indonesia on Feb. 7 left its key policy rate unchanged for a second month to stem a slowdown in economic growth.

Indonesia's rupiah has strengthened more than 14 percent since reaching a four-year low on Aug. 30, easing pressure on the nation's inflation rate by making imports less expensive. Some investors are concerned the central bank, which raised borrowing costs six times from August to December, may lower rates sooner than expected because of the currency's gain.

"There is a tendency for the central bank to become populist concerning interest rates," Anton Gunawan, an economist at Citigroup Inc. said in a speech given in Jakarta On Wednesday before Burhanuddin's comments. "Do not lower rates." The central bank will decide on its interest rates policy after evaluating inflation data, Burhanuddin said.

"They will have to wait for several months to make sure that inflation is under control," before cutting rates, said Purbaya Yudhi Sadewa, an economist at Danareksa Research Institute in Jakarta. "Still I don't think the possibility of an increasedrate is very high as the economy is slowing down." Indonesia's economy probably expanded in the fourth quarter at the slowest pace in more than three years as higher borrowing costs curbed consumer spending.

Southeast Asia's largest economy grew 4.2 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier after expanding 5.3 percent in the previous three months, according to the median forecast of 14 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. That's the slowest since June 2002. The Central Statistics Bureau is due to release the report on Feb. 15.



Posted in Economy @ 15 February 2006 09:09 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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