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Time For Straighter Talk

Since January 1 the rupiah has strengthened from 15,000 to 14,000, mostly on the heels of announcements from the Fed that it would not be raising the prime rate imminently. With a yawning current account deficit this development was met with a sigh of relief from Indonesia’s economic brain trust. They could certainly use it [...]

By | 2019-02-08T22:09:42+00:00 February 8th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

2018: A Year of Red Ink

Looking back at 2018 one sees a year many of us might otherwise want to forget; it was a true test of Indonesia’s capacity for resilience. Amid a string of natural and human disasters; an uncertain economic environment involving the country’s major trading partners (EU, China and the US); a yawning current account and [...]

By | 2019-01-07T16:11:28+00:00 January 7th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Wisdom of Yogyakarta

Commentary by Wayne Forrest I recently spent 5 days in NY and Connecticut with the man who would be President of Indonesia. Its not hard to see why Sultan of Yogyakarta examines a puppet at Yale so many Indonesians have backed him in past elections, especially in 1999 after President Suharto’s epic resignation. Although he [...]

By | 2019-01-02T19:36:34+00:00 January 2nd, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Where’s the Transformation ?

Commentary by Wayne Forrest It keeps happening over successive Indonesian presidencies: a transformational figure is elected (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Joko Widodo) who appoints transformational ministers, who propose reforms. But, then things bog down. Frustration sets in, or the person leaves the Cabinet. Growth atrophies and the language of discourse remains in the pluperfect tense. [...]

MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES

The principals of 5 US-Indonesia organizations with Vice President Jusuf Kalla and US Ambassador Joseph Donovan Commentary by Wayne Forrest Indonesia seemed to be exhibiting multiple personalities during my visit last week as it simultaneously hosted a major athletic event(Asian Para Olympic Games) and banking event (World bank/IMF Annual Meetings) while organizing [...]

SPORTS AND THE CONFIDENCE TO INTERVENE

Commentary by Wayne Forrest In another era the rupiah flirted with 15,000 triggering panic, violence, and eventually a change of government. As the rupiah approaches the same level today, 20 years later, we are seeing anxiety, yes, but also confidence and unity. We saw an example of this through sports. Indonesia’s Hanifan Yudani Kusumah [...]

By | 2018-09-27T16:27:50+00:00 September 14th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

REMOVING A PEBBLE IN THE SHOE

REMOVING A PEBBLE IN THE SHOE Commentary by Wayne Forrest Back in the Soeharto era, Indonesia’s very gifted diplomat, Ali Alatas, used to say about East Timor ( a province with a strong separatist movement that caused major diplomatic problems) that it was “the pebble in Indonesia’s shoe”. East Timor achieved independence after Soeharto’s [...]

Fear of Foreigners

Commentary by Wayne Forrest I pity the poor immigrant Who wishes he would’ve stayed home -Bob Dylan Immigration anxiety is now an issue shared by the US and Indonesia. Both countries have political leaders (elected or unelected) who talk about a “flood” of illegal immigrants even though statistics prove otherwise. For Indonesia it’s the [...]

By | 2018-07-11T14:35:04+00:00 July 11th, 2018|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Which Way

Which Way is the Wind Blowing by Wayne Forrest Recently Moody’s and Fitch curiously upgraded their Indonesia sovereign rating while the government fixed energy and electricity prices for two years, placing the large obligations of state-owned Pertamina and PLN at risk. Meanwhile the rupiah and stock market indexes are trending south but Bank Indonesia [...]

Subsidies Return

Commentary by Wayne Forrest  When President Jokowi took office in 2014 he opened his arms wide to foreign investment, ended the costly energy subsidies, announced that building critically needed infrastructure would be his priority, and set 7% GDP growth as his 5-year goal.   A key part of the plan was to build an additional [...]