JAKARTA, April 11 Indonesia's central bank held
its benchmark interest rate at a record low 5.75 percent on
Thursday, as forecast, as it sees inflationary pressures easing.
All 14 analysts polled by Reuters had expected the rate to
be left unchanged even though headline inflation rose
significantly in March, because core inflation - which doesn't
include volatile food prices - eased that month and the
government has not yet moved to cut fuel subsidies.
Four economists expected BI to tighten policy on Thursday or
afterwards by raising its overnight deposit facility rate, or
FASBI, by 25 basis points to lower a current account deficit and
help the ailing rupiah.
Bank Indonesia last raised FASBI - the rate for funds that a
bank can place with the central bank - in August, by 25 basis
Announcement date Rate (percent)
- Bank Indonesia cut its policy rate by 75 basis points in
2011, and by another 25 basis points in February 2012 to help
maintain the country's annual economic growth at more than 6
- Headline inflation hit a nearly two-year high at 5.9
percent in March due to import restrictions on several foods,
but core inflation softened to 4.21 percent from 4.29 percent
the previous month.
- In 2012, Indonesia had a sizable current account deficit
and its first annual trade deficit. The twin deficits put
pressure on the rupiah, which weakened about 6 percent against
the U.S. dollar during the year.
- There was a trade defict of $330 million in February, as
global demand stayed weak amid surging imports.
- Forex reserves declined to $104.8 billion at the end of
March from $105.2 billion in February, as Bank Indonesia
intervened in the forex market to support the rupiah.
- Recent data releases show modest optimism about the
economy. Retail sales in February were 14 percent higher than a
year earlier, while a consumer confidence index was flat at
116.8 due to steady domestic consumption.
(Reporting by Rieka Rahadiana and Adriana Nina Kusuma; Editing
by Richard Borsuk and Neil Chatterjee)