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Bank Indonesia records Rp 11t outflow amid coronavirus fears

first_imgDody added that the central bank’s policy path would depend on the latest developments, adding that BI would intervene if the virus disrupted the country’s economy.BI has injected about Rp 25 trillion into the country’s financial markets amid a sell-off over fears that the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus would hurt the global economy.BI Governor Perry Warjiyo said on Wednesday that the central bank had been buying government bonds in the market to stabilize prices and liquidity as the coronavirus scared off foreign investors.“Do you know how many bonds we have bought from the government with the heavy capital inflow this year? The figure is close to Rp 25 trillion,” Perry said during his remarks at the Mandiri Investment Forum in Jakarta. The rupiah had weakened 0.3 percent against the US dollar to Rp 13,675 as of Friday afternoon. The currency has appreciated about 1.6 percent against the greenback so far this year, Bloomberg data shows.As of Friday afternoon, the 2019-nCoV virus had infected more than 31,400 people across the globe and had killed 638. The spread of the pneumonia-like illness has forced businesses in China to stop or limit their operations amid lockdowns in dozens of provinces.The cooling business activity in the world’s second-largest economy has spurred investors to seek safer assets and leave emerging markets, such as Indonesia.The local stock market has still managed to record a net foreign buy of about Rp 176 billion as of Friday despite the Jakarta Composite Index falling 4.76 percent so far this year. The novel coronavirus outbreak has pushed investors to leave the country’s financial markets, resulting in a foreign outflow of about Rp 11 trillion (US$805.9 million) last week, which has put pressure on the rupiah, a central banker has said.Despite the hefty outflow, Bank Indonesia (BI) has recorded an inflow of Rp 400 billion so far this year.”The outbreak has adversely affected financial markets worldwide as it is also pressuring the rupiah, although the currency appreciated on Thursday,” BI deputy governor Dody Budi Waluyo told reporters in Jakarta.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Iran’s Khamenei asks India to stop attacks on Muslims after deadly riots

first_imgCritics argue the law discriminates against Muslims and violates the spirit of India’s secular constitution.Hundreds of thousands of people have taken part in protests since December.Earlier this week, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said it intended to approach India’s Supreme Court about the citizenship law. Topics : Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged India on Thursday to “confront extremist Hindus” and “stop the massacre of Muslims”, adding to the international fallout over deadly Hindu-Muslim violence in New Delhi.At least 44 people were killed and hundreds injured in the worst communal riots in the Indian capital in decades, triggered by clashes between supporters of a new citizenship law and those against it.”The hearts of Muslims all over the world are grieving over the massacre of Muslims in India,” Khamenei said in a tweet in English, just days after New Delhi rebuked Iran’s foreign minister for commenting on the same issue.center_img “Iran condemns the wave of organized violence against Indian Muslims,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Monday, in response to which New Delhi summoned the Islamic Republic’s ambassador and lodged a protest.”We do not expect such comments from a country like Iran,” ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said in a statement later.The citizenship law provides non-Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan a fast track to Indian citizenship.Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government says this is required to help minorities from those mainly Muslim countries.last_img read more

COVID-19: Batam authorities succeed in quarantining two ‘evaders’

first_imgHe agreed to be quarantined after persuasive intervention by police officers, although he was still anxious about being unable to make an income during the 14-day period. Riau Islands Police health division head Sr. Comr. Muhammad Haris said police were able to track the man down with the help of the ride-hailing company where he worked.”We told him he needed to be quarantined because he was in contact with a person with COVID-19. If he refused, we would take action,” Haris told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.Read also: Indonesia to turn former Vietnamese refugee camp into hospital for COVID-19 patientsHe added that the man had not been in direct contact with the Singapore COVID-19 patient, but rather with the patient’s domestic helper.Haris added that some confusion seemed to exist among the media regarding the number of people who had escaped quarantine, and stressed that only one person had fled. The other man had refused to be quarantined in the first place, but had since agreed to be quarantined at the haj dormitory.”[So] We only found the one person. We found him the day after he fled quarantine,” he said. “He told us, if he was quarantined, how would he make money. Well, financial problems are not our jurisdiction. Our job is just to find him.”Haris also said that officers had been placed on guard at the haj dormitory that is being used to quarantine 11 identified close contacts, while others had been assigned to the residences of the four other close contacts, who are in self-isolation. (nal)Topics : Two male residents of Batam, the Riau Islands, who had been in close contact with a Singaporean who had the virus, were placed in quarantine on Wednesday after initially evading health authorities.Both men work as ride-hailing ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers and are among the 15 people identified as having been in close contact with three Singapore residents who tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting Batam. The two had evaded health authorities for fear of losing their incomes.The first man had briefly entered the quarantine facility at a local haj dormitory along with nine others, but escaped on Tuesday morning.last_img read more

Tokyo Olympics plans ‘insensitive, irresponsible’ – IOC member

first_imgAthletes have been prevented from accessing training facilities because of virus-related lockdowns, while others have seen key competitions and qualifying events cancelled.”From an athlete perspective, I can only imagine and try to empathize with the anxiety and heartbreak athletes are feeling right now,” Wickenheiser said.”The uncertainty of not knowing where you’re going to train tomorrow as facilities close and qualification events are cancelled all over the world would be terrible if you’ve been training your whole life for this.”Athletes can’t train, attendees can’t travel plan. Sponsors and marketers can’t market with any degree of sensitivity.”I think the IOC insisting this will move ahead, with such conviction, is insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity.”In a later tweet, Wickenheiser expanded on her criticism.”Should the Olympics be cancelled? No one knows at this point and that IS my point,” she wrote. “To say for certain they will go ahead is an injustice to the athletes training and global population at large. We need to acknowledge the unknown.” IOC and Japanese officials have insisted they are working towards staging the Olympics as planned despite the escalating coronavirus pandemic.”This crisis is bigger than even the Olympics,” said Wickenheiser.”We don’t know what’s happening in the next 24 hours, let alone the next three months.”Wickenheiser pointed to the disruption the pandemic had already caused to athletes preparing for the games.  International Olympic Committee member Hayley Wickenheiser said Tuesday that vows to press ahead with plans for the Tokyo Games are “insensitive and irresponsible.”Wickenheiser, a member of Canada’s women’s ice hockey team that won four straight Olympic golds between 2002 and 2016, made her comments on Twitter.The 41-year-old IOC Athletes Commission member was speaking as the IOC said there was no need for “drastic decisions” over the staging of the July 24-August 8 event.center_img Topics :last_img read more

BI cuts rate, sees growth plunging to 15-year low as COVID-19 roils economy

first_img“The monetary policy remains accommodative and consistent with the projected inflation rate and is a preemptive measure to maintain the momentum of domestic economic growth,” BI Governor Perry Warjiyo told a teleconferenced press briefing.Read also: Indonesian stocks hit circuit breaker again as dollar nears Rp 16,000BI also lowered its deposit facility rate to 3.75 percent and lending facility rate to 5.25 percent. The lower rates are expected to transmit into lower interest rates, affecting consumer loans, corporate loans and mortgage interest rates, as well as bond yields, among other instruments.Indonesia on Wednesday announced 227 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 19 deaths. Globally, the pneumonia-like illness has infected nearly 218,000 people and taken at least 8,800 lives. Several economists are already on alert for a potential recession as activities — from consumer purchases to factories production and shipments — slow down worldwide. BI also revised down on Thursday Indonesia’s economic growth projection to between 4.2 percent and 4.6 percent this year, which would be the lowest levels since 2005. That compares with last month’s projection of between 5 and 5.4 percent.“With the developing situation, we see that [the coronavirus] will continue to have a severe impact in April and May before we see a recovery in public health and the economy,” Perry said.Read also: ‘Desperate times, desperate measures’: Calls grow for flexible state budget amid virusHe projected global economic growth to reach 2.5 percent this year, down from last month’s projection of 3 percent.”Considering the global uncertainties caused by the massive spread of the virus, BI’s monetary easing is still needed to maintain economic stability,” Bank Permata chief economist Josua Pardede told The Jakarta Post.BI still has “ample room” to intervene despite limited ammunition caused by a weakening currency, he added.”BI needs more accommodative policies to bolster the domestic economy amid a global economic slowdown but without compromising the rupiah’s stability.”Investors have pulled out around US$2.8 billion from Indonesia’s bond markets, and the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) has plunged more than 30 percent since the beginning of this year, weakening the rupiah by 8.77 percent.The currency continued its deep depreciation to 15,712 per US dollar, according to Bank Indonesia Jakarta Interspot Dollar Rate (JISDOR).The last time it touched this level and reached 16,650 was in June 1998, after widespread rioting led to the downfall of former president Soeharto and ended his 32-year reign.“The rupiah sell-off will likely limit BI’s ability to support the economy through further monetary easing,” Fitch Solutions said in a research note.“Although BI has launched several lines of defense for the currency, including limiting short-selling in the stock market, intervening in the currency market and purchasing up to Rp 130 trillion worth of government securities, we expect that the central bank will increasingly struggle to defend the currency.“With the number of [COVID-19] cases reported in Indonesia surging, we see investors remaining nervous about the archipelago’s ability to contain the virus.”BI pledges seven measures to calm the market rout and stabilize the rupiah:1) Stepping up the intensity of its triple intervention efforts in the spot market, supplying domestic non-deliverable forwards and buying government bonds worth Rp 195 trillion.2) Extending the tenor of sovereign debt papers (SBN) to 12 months and holding auctions every day without limits to ease banks’ liquidity, starting on Friday.3) Adding the frequency of foreign exchange swaps with one- to 12-month tenors to every day — from three times a week — to ensure the availability of liquidity in the capital market.4) Strengthening foreign exchange deposits to bolster banks’ financing.5) Lowering the rupiah reserve requirement ratio by 50 bps for banks involved in financing small and middle businesses and other priority areas after a 50 bps cut last month to support trade activities.6) Strengthening payment system policies to ensure money circulation.7) Moving forward the starting date for foreign investors being able to use local bank accounts to keep their money to March 23 from the initial plan of April 1.Topics : Bank Indonesia (BI) cut on Thursday the nation’s policy rate to prop up the economy, which is likely to grow at the lowest rate in 15 years, battered by a slump in economic activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.The central bank slashed its benchmark interest rate, the BI seven-day reverse repo rate, by 25 basis points to 4.50 percent after a cut of the same size last month.It also announced measures to calm the market rout and stabilize the rupiah, which touched levels unseen since the 1998 crisis, including intensifying bond-buying in the secondary market and cutting banks’ reserve ratio.last_img read more

North Ireland man arrested for coughing on police officers

first_img“A 39 year-old man has been charged with common assault and two counts of attempting to commit grievous bodily harm,” a PSNI spokesman said in a statement.The man is due to appear at Belfast Magistrate’s Court on the charges on Thursday.On Wednesday, Ireland’s health minister Simon Harris said he had been the victim of an apparent prank in Dublin where “a man and woman on the street” coughed at him and then “ran off laughing”.”There’s absolutely nothing amusing about it — it’s quite pathetic,” he remarked of the incident said to have happened Tuesday. A Northern Ireland man has been charged with attempting to commit grievous bodily harm after claiming to have coronavirus and deliberately coughing on police officers, the police service said Thursday. The man was held for common assault following a domestic incident in north Belfast on Wednesday, according to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).It is alleged he then told two arresting officers he had coronavirus before intentionally coughing over them. Harris said there seemed to be a “social media game” entailing videoing such acts. He added that it would be dealt with using “the full vigor of all of the powers that the state has”.center_img Topics :last_img read more

COVID-19: Govt to allocate Rp 100 billion to protect Indonesians abroad

first_imgThe Foreign Ministry will allocate Rp 100 billion (US$6.1 million) from its 2020 budget for the protection of Indonesian citizens living abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic.The ministry’s proposal to reallocate its Rp 8.6 trillion budget was approved by the House of Representatives on Tuesday.During a virtual working meeting with House Commission I, which oversees foreign affairs, on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry secretary-general Mayerfas said the Rp 10 billion budget had initially been earmarked for the management of the ministry building in Jakarta. “The reallocated budget will be used to fulfill the needs of about 49 Indonesian missions abroad and to ensure the wellbeing of Indonesian citizens affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mayerfas said during the meeting.Read also: Govt urges Indonesians abroad to stay put, promises aid during COVID-19 pandemic“The Indonesian missions are asked to report their needs in their accredited working areas,” he went on to say.Commission I approved the proposal and agreed that the budget be used for the procurement of emergency shelters and staple food deliveries for Indonesian citizens.The House also asked the Foreign Ministry to heighten communication, monitoring, mapping and protection to ensure the protection of citizens abroad, said Commission I chairwoman Meutya Hafid.As of Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry recorded that 302 Indonesians had tested positive for COVID-19 abroad, resulting in eight fatalities. Meanwhile, 37 citizens have recovered from the disease.Topics :last_img read more

‘Pay attention’, ‘transform’: Pandemic shifts business landscape, strategy

first_imgTopics : COVID-19 has swept through the global economy in an unprecedented way. Businesses have been affected to various degrees depending on the sectors, but the bottom-line tips for survival are: pay attention to consumer behavior and accelerate digital transformation, new reports show.Consumers are staying home more than ever before, forcing businesses to cater to the new stay-home economy and lifestyle. Sectors that require mobility and travel are being battered, such as tourism, airlines and transportation, but businesses that relate to health, hygiene and digital media are booming.“Constant changes in attitude and behavior are unrelenting,” market research firm Kantar Indonesia wrote in its April 14 briefing titled COVID-19 Impact on Indonesian Attitudes & Behaviors: Learning for Brands. “Pay attention and adapt to the changes as soon as possible.” “In times of crisis, stronger brands will prevail,” Kantar Indonesia’s briefing reads. The government is preparing tax breaks for 12 business sectors ranging from manufacturing to food and beverages and tourism and transportation as COVID-19 deals a heavy blow to Indonesian businesses.Read also: COVID-19 impacts across Indonesia’s business sectors: A recapIndonesia’s economic growth is expected to plunge to 2.3 percent, the lowest in 21 years, and under the worst-case scenario it is set to contract by 0.4 percent, according to government estimates. The government is also preparing tax breaks, loan relaxations and cash transfers for Indonesia’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which contribute 60 percent to the national GDP.New business landscape: BeneficiariesIn the wake of the coronavirus, there is noticeably higher awareness in relation to hygiene and health, according to consumer activity data gathered by the Mobile Marketing Association. There is also an increase in the consumption of products perceived to be healthy such as fresh food and dairy products, according to a report by McKinsey and Company.More than three out of four consumers are currently focusing on boosting their immunity through more exercise and healthy eating, according to the McKinsey survey of 5,000 people in seven countries in Asia, including Indonesia. The finding excludes consumers in China and Japan.Read also: Consumers drawn to hygiene products, online fitness as pandemic spreads“In the long term the pandemic will serve as shock therapy regarding the importance of health and sanitation. So, customers will tend to care more about their health,” Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) director and economist Mohammad Faisal said.As regional governments in Indonesia implement large scale social restrictions (PSBB), products selling out among customers are not limited to germ-killing products, but also those associated with people staying home. These include personal care and home care such as detergents and dishwashing products, according to Kantar research.“After entering the recovery phase, in 2021, the customer’s focus on basic needs won’t change. But it will take some time for people to start purchasing secondary and tertiary needs outside the basics,” Faisal said.The digital economy, including digital media, is thriving. McKinsey data point to a surge in customers’ use of digital channels to purchase groceries.Online grocery platforms like Sayurbox and TaniHub have seen a significant surge in demand since the government encouraged citizens to stay in. The survey on customers’ intentions shows that the trend might continue beyond the time of the pandemic.Read also: Online groceries thrive as customers avoid supermarketsThe use of digital channels during the stay-at-home period also extends to other platforms such as fitness apps, digital entertainment, work from home software, as well as online education, with as many as 70 percent of customers surveyed in MMA data trying out a new digital category during the pandemic.Research firm Statqo Analytics notes that web meeting app Zoom has seen its number of users jump by 183 percent in March alone, while learning platform Ruangguru saw a 77 percent surge in active users in the same month.“The COVID-19 [pandemic period] is going to shape our future digital economy, because people are forced to adopt and adapt with the current digital ecosystem,” Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF) researcher Hanif Muhammad said, noting that there will be a speedy digital transformation going forward.The government should gear up for the future digital developments, especially regarding data privacy, digital infrastructure and digital interaction readiness, Hanif added.“This is the first step, whether after the pandemic passes, the online service can still be provided. If the [customers’] experience during the pandemic is pleasant, it’s not impossible that it will continue forward,” Indonesia ICT Institute executive director Heru Sutadi said.Stay home economy: Business negativeThe universal public health advice to stay home, as well as the travel restrictions, is bad news for the tourism and transportation sectors. So far, the COVID-19 pandemic has left tourist destinations across the country empty of visitors, while 1,266 hotels have temporarily halted operations, according to the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI).Read also: Tourism will take at least a year to recover from COVID-19 outbreak: EconomistsThe International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that Indonesia’s aviation industry might see a 37 percent decline in passenger demand and revenue impact loss of US$6.4 billion.The pressure on the transportation sector has also had an effect on demand for oil, while at the same time, oil prices have tumbled to levels not seen for years because of the pandemic and a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia.Read also: Jet fuel consumption drops as airlines reduce, halt operations due to COVID-19Meanwhile, the retail sector, excluding grocery sales, is also suffering from the blow. Publicly listed retailer PT Matahari Department Store closed all of its stores in Indonesia in March and April in its attempt to reduce salaries and cope with the impact of the pandemic.Indonesian Retailers Association (Aprindo) chairman Roy Mandey said that the four types of modern retail outlets namely minimarkets, supermarkets, hypermarkets and department stores, would still exist, but he acknowledged that department stores would be hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.“The retail food sector can’t be merely seen as making more profit [than other types of retailer], because they need to employ extra efforts in their operations too. We have to prepare additional manpower to meet people’s needs through couriers and deliveries,” he said.He said that the pandemic had affected the purchasing pattern for tertiary needs such as clothes and footwear, especially nearing the Idul Fitri holiday, when sales usually surge. The changing pattern of purchasing behavior might further hit retailers nearing the festive season.center_img Apart from paying attention to changing consumer mindsets, behavior and lifestyle, businesses will also need to accelerate digital transformation, strengthen digital platforms and adopt new digital commerce tools, the document shows.The briefing document uses anxiety meters and consumer behavior to track consumers’ psychology so brands can adapt. During the short-term “disruption” stage in which lifestyle changes to quarantine, helping and supporting consumers to adjust are crucial.In the medium-term “confusion and uncertainty” stage of the prolonged lockdown, brands should be a catalyst of productivity, while during the “acceptance of the new normal” phase, they should evolve with consumers.last_img read more

After lockdown, Australians seek to learn survival skills in the bush

first_imgThe interest in the course comes as Australia loosens its lockdown laws after months of restrictions that saw runs on supermarket staples, and many Sydney dwellers cooped up at home. Now beaches are reopening and pubs in Sydney are allowed to accept ten patrons for meals.”I’ve been caught up with that supermarket mayhem. I didn’t realize how entrenched I was in that,” course participant George Hamza said. Hamza is one of 11 participants taking part in a three-day intermediate course near Ku-ring-gai National Park, Ingleside, north of Sydney.”Coming out here and spending a few days here and removing myself from that, I’m feeling like I’m detoxing a little from that sphere of the world,” he said Topics : “The more knowledge you have… it actually gives you a sense of confidence and then you can make better informed decisions.”Course participants learn how to erect a shelter, build a fire, solar and celestial navigation, forage for edible plants, some within a timed environment designed to emulate the stress of a real survival situation.”They’ve got a timed period to make a fire using the procedure that we’ve given them because it makes it efficient. They may have to light a fire to signal for help, to boil water to give to a person that’s suffering from hypothermia,” Dedman said.”The other thing is that the timed deliverables gives an element of stress and in a survival situation you’re going to be very, very stressed.”center_img Learning Australian bush survival skills is becoming popular as city folk turn to nature with the easing of the coronavirus lockdown, organizers of a course outside Sydney said.The Bushcraft course teaches basic survival skills like foraging for food and water, and also offers insight into traditional indigenous cultures. The course filled up soon after the lockdown began to be eased late last month, and there is a lot of demand, the organizers said.”A lot of people come to learn self discipline. How to organize themselves and organize themselves in a natural environment,” said instructor Gordon Dedman at Bushcraft Survival Australia, who is a former army commando.last_img read more