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Rupiah at 1998 crisis level pressures reserves, foreign-denominated debt

first_imgAs of 4:59 p.m. in Jakarta on Friday, the rupiah had weakened more than 15 percent against the US dollar this year. It broke the Rp 16,000 mark during the day, a level unseen since the 1998 crisis. The benchmark stock index, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), has lost a third of its value this year.As of Thursday, a Rp 105.1 trillion capital outflow had been recorded this year as foreign investors dumped Rp 92.8 trillion worth of government bonds and Rp 8.3 trillion in stocks, BI data shows.“Our foreign exchange reserves are more than enough,” Perry said when asked about the impact of the market rout on the central bank’s dollar reserves. At $130.4 billion in February, Indonesia’s dollar reserves represent 7.7 months of imports, well above the 3-month international adequacy standard.Bahana Sekuritas economist Satria Sambijantoro said the potential rebound of the rupiah would depend on the government’s efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The rupiah breached Rp 16,000 against the US dollar on Friday, the weakest since the 1998 crisis, taking its toll on central bank reserves, corporate debt obligations and import-reliant industries as the COVID-19 pandemic prompts an Indonesian asset selloff.Bank Indonesia (BI) Governor Perry Warjiyo said on Friday that the central bank had spent Rp 163 trillion (US$10.1 billion) to buy government bonds in the secondary market to stabilize the rupiah as foreign investors exited the market.“The stabilization efforts that we’ve taken focus on providing a supply of dollars, which we will continue doing through intervention […],” Perry told a teleconferenced press briefing, referring to the central bank’s bond buying and intervention in spot and non-deliverable forward markets. “We think most of the rupiah’s weakness was driven by psychological – not fundamental – factors due to the ‘two-tier pricing’ in the forex market that discourages exporters and bonds investors from holding on to their rupiah-denominated assets, fearing further depreciation,” he wrote.The government has pledged to allocate Rp 120 trillion (US$7.5 billion) from the 2020 state budget to stimulate the economy, which may grow at the lowest level in 15 years, just above 4 percent, Finance Minsiter Sri Mulyani Indrawati said.State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir said the weakening of the rupiah against the US dollar could also impact state firms’ debts, including flag carrier Garuda Indonesia.“We have been negotiating regarding the airline’s [condition] for more than a month,” Erick said in a teleconferenced press briefing on Friday. Garuda may need to restructure its foreign-denominated debts as it has struggled to pay its obligations as the pandemic hits the travel industry hard, he added.Garuda Indonesia issued US$496.8 million in global sukuk (sharia-compliant financial assets) on June 3, 2015. They are due to mature on June 3 with an annual return of 5.95 percent, according to the company’s financial report released in September of last year.For import-reliant producers, the rupiah depreciation would increase costs in a sector already hit by supply chain shocks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.“If manufacturers want to keep their products competitive in the market, they have to pick a factor of their costs that they can cut, which is their workforce,” said Indef Center of Industry, Trade and Investment researcher Andry Satrio Nugroho.Andry predicted that the factory activity benchmark, the IHS Markit Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI), would fall drastically in March. The index managed to climb to expansion for the first time since June at 51.9 in February. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, and one below 50 indicates contraction.“We have to finish the virus problems first, and then industries can catch up, just like what China is doing right now,” said Andry, adding that the recent stimulus should focus on healthcare instead.Chamber of Industry and Commerce (Kadin) vice chairman for industrial affairs Johnny Darmawan said on Thursday that the depreciating rupiah would be a further drag on already sluggish business activities due to social distancing measures taken by consumers and enterprises.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Sunday urged Indonesians to practice social distancing, a public health measure to slow the transmission of an infectious disease by staying 1 meter away from other people in the case of COVID-19. It involves “working from home, studying from home and praying from home”, the President said.“Production has declined because of social distancing measures to slow down the coronavirus. Business has already been lethargic,” said Johnny.Manufacturing industry players have complained about the disruption in the supply of raw materials as measures to contain COVID-19 bind factory production across Indonesia. Between 20 and 50 percent of raw materials for domestic industry are sourced from China, Indonesia’s biggest trade partner.The government previously announced two rounds of stimulus packages including a package worth Rp 22.9 trillion that includes individual and corporate tax breaks. The first package, worth Rp 10.3 trillion and announced on Feb. 25, provides for staple needs and mortgage subsidies for low-income families and fiscal incentives for travel-related businesses.Indonesia had 369 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 32 deaths as of Friday. Globally, the pneumonia-like illness has infected over 240,000 people and has claimed at least 10,000 lives. (mpr)Topics :last_img read more

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Trout Time: AL All-Stars top NL 6-3

first_imgCINCINNATI — Mike Trout flashed the skill that puts him at the front of baseball’s new generation, just moments after four of the all-time greats walked off the field.Trout became the first player in 38 years to homer leading off an All-Star Game, then became the first player to take home the Midsummer Classic’s MVP award two years in row.A new-look All-Star Game finished with the same old result. The AL beat the NL 6-3 on July 14 and will open the World Series at home for the 10th time in 13 years.“It’s obviously a humbling honor with the MVPs,” Trout said in his usual understated, aw-shucks manner.After Trout completed a career All-Star cycle in just his fifth big league season, Prince Fielder delivered. He drove in two runs, sending Trout blazing home ahead of Joc Pederson’s throw with the run off Clayton Kershaw that put the AL ahead for good.In an age of dominant pitching, Felix Hernandez, winner David Price, Zach Britton, Dellin Betances and Wade Davis took scoreless turns in the AL’s third win a row.Playing on the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels, Trout could add an even bigger honor this fall — his first World Series ring.“He can do anything that anybody can do on a baseball field,” AL Manager Ned Yost said. “He can hit with power. He can run. He can drive the gap. He’s a great defender. He’s just special. When you look at Mike, you don’t look at a 23-year-old. You look at a guy that is one of the best baseball players on this planet.”A season after the retirement of Derek Jeter dropped the curtain on the turn-of-century greats, Trout was among six starting position players under 25 — the most since 1965. At last year’s game in Minneapolis, he hit a tie-breaking triple and later a go-ahead double.This time Trout sent Zack Greinke’s fourth pitch, a 94 mph fastball on the outer half of the plate, over the wall in right next to the visiting bullpen for an opposite-field homer.Winner of his first season AL MVP award in 2014, the center fielder joined Willie Mays, Steve Garvey, Gary Carter and Cal Ripken, Jr. as the only two-time All-Star MVPs.Stars old and young gathered in one of baseball’s most traditional towns. The Reds became baseball’s first professional team in 1869, and players wore caps with horizontal stripes in an attempt at a 19th Century feel.Pete Rose, Cincinnati’s hometown hero and baseball’s banned career hits leader, was given an 80-second ovation when he walked onto the field before the game to join Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Barry Larkin, elected by fans as the Reds’ greatest players.Wearing a red jacket and tie and walking stiffly, the now 74-year-old Charlie Hustle was applauded as soon as his image appeared on the video boards, even before he emerged from the AL dugout.And in the first All-Star Game at Great American Ballpark, which opened in 2003, fans got to see some great ballplayers.Bench, changed into a blue jacket, returned with Hank Aaron, Mays and Sandy Koufax, voted baseball’s great living players by fans as part of the promotion.In a sentimental yet stunning reminder of generational change, Aaron, 81, and Morgan, 71, needed canes to reach the infield, and Mays, 84, was aided on and off the field by an assistant.“Growing up, I didn’t get to see them play that much,” Trout said. “But looking up, seeing highlights of all the Hall of Famers, it’s something I really look forward to looking at and I’m learning more about them, just how great they played in every respect of the game.”Above the field, new Commissioner Rob Manfred watched from a luxury suite, the first All-Star Game not presided over by Bud Selig since 1992.Many players of the new generation love bling in a manner that puzzles the old guard: Buster Posey wore a gold-colored helmet behind the plate, looking a bit like the Great Gazoo or a Praetorian Guard, accessorizing with a chest protector, shin guards and cleats all with gold-colored trim.Baltimore’s Adam Jones was shod in bright orange cleats, and Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain and Washington’s Bryce Harper donned golden spikes.Trout, a Generation Y star with a baby boomer work ethic, completed a unique cycle on a clear evening that followed a heavy afternoon downpour.He singled in his All-Star debut in 2012, doubled to open 2013 game and tripled in the first inning last year. He was just the ninth player to hit for an All-Star cycle in his entire career, joining an illustrious list that includes Hall of Famers Ted Williams, Roberto Clemente, Ernie Banks, George Brett, Mike Schmidt and Mays. Fielder later became the 10th.No one had homered leading off an All-Star Game since 1977 at old Yankee Stadium, when Morgan connected off Jim Palmer. Greinke, coming off five scoreless outings, had not allowed a run since June 13.“It’s not easy,” Greinke said of pitching to Trout. “You’ve got like a 2-inch window up in the zone. If you throw it higher than that, he takes it. If you throw it lower, he does what he did.”Fielder and Cain had run-scoring hits in the fifth against Kershaw, the reigning NL MVP, that put the AL ahead 3-1.Manny Machado, at 23 another of the sport’s fresh faces, hit a double off the right-field wall against Francisco Rodriguez in the seventh and scored on Fielder’s sacrifice fly. And Brian Dozier, the last player added to the game as an injury replacement, hit a solo home run off Mark Melancon in the eighth.NL runs came home on Jhonny Peralta’s RBI single in the second, Andrew McCutchen’s homer off Chris Archer in the sixth and Brandon Crawford’s sacrifice fly in the ninth.NL manager Bruce Bochy thought ahead to some future ceremony involving Trout, perhaps at an All-Star Game or World Series, perhaps at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.“He’s going to be standing there, I think, with the guys we saw tonight,” Bochy said.(RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Australia Joins USLed Coalition to Protect Ships in Hormuz

first_imgzoomIllustration; Source: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license Australia has decided to join the United States-led mission to ensure freedom of navigation and safe passage through the Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions with Iran.According to the country’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, Australia would deploy a frigate in January 2020 for six months, a P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft for one month before the end of 2019 and ADF personnel to the International Maritime Security Construct headquarters in Bahrain.This mission will see the Australian Defence Force work alongside its international partners to assure the security of merchant vessels in the Strait of Hormuz.“We have been working closely with our allies and partners, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom, on this issue, which impacts global security and stability,” Morrison said.“Freedom of navigation through international waters is a fundamental right of all states under international law. All states have a right to expect safe passage of their maritime trade consistent with international law.”“It is in Australia’s interest to work with international partners to uphold these rights.”last_img read more

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Trudeau government inaction on interim report concerns commissioners of MMIWG inquiry

first_imgDennis WardAPTN Face to FaceAs the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls nears its end later this year the chief commissioner says it still has concerns about the Trudeau governments action so far on its previously released interim report.Which makes Marion Buller aware the recommendations in the inquiry’s final report can’t be ignored.It raises a lot of concerns for us,” says Buller, chief commissioner of the inquiry.“The interim report was ground-breaking in the work that was contained in it. So, of course it doubles our concern about framing our recommendations in a way that will be acted upon.”Buller was joined by commissioners Michele Audette and Brian Eyolfson on Face to Face with host Dennis Ward Tuesday night.Their interim report was releases in early November 2017.They acknowledged they have “more than one new level of frustration” with the federal government.Commissioners also expressed their disappointment with the inquiry being timed to the next federal election.“I’m trying to think of polite words to use but horribly disappointing not only to us but to Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people all across Canada,” says Buller. “We view this issue or issues of violence against Indigenous women and girls to be so serious and so important to all Canadians that it should have survived an election cycle.”Cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls have continued as the inquiry has crossed the country.News broke of the death of Mary Madeline Yellowback while the inquiry was in Winnipeg holding hearings.The body of the 33-year-old woman from God’s River in Manitoba was discovered at a Winnipeg recycling depot on Sept. 28.Police are investigating Yellowback’s death as suspicious.“It is just a reminder that we have to keep going with this very important work and get the important recommendations out there to ensure that government makes the necessary changes,” says Commissioner Brian Eyolfson.Final submissions to the inquiry by Parties with Standing will take place in Ottawa from Dec. 10-14.The final report is due in April 30, 2019.dward@aptn.ca@denniswardnewslast_img read more

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