Coming clean

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Government to issue ‘positive investment list’ in February, says BKPM boss

first_imgCoordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said in November last year that the government planned to change the existing negative investment list (DNI) into a positive investment list. The positive list will promote priority industries that are open to both foreign and domestic investments, such as import-substitution or export-oriented industries.Read also: Government to replace negative investment list with ‘positive list’ for priority industriesAt the time, the DNI contained a list of banned or limited foreign investment in certain business sectors to protect local companies. He also said in November that he expected the Perpres to be issued this year.The government is struggling to attract more investment into the country to help jack up sluggish economic growth. Indonesia’s economy grew 5.02 percent last year, the weakest since 2015, as investment and export cooled. Bahlil said on Wednesday that on the positive list, some sectors would still limit foreign ownership. “We want to create a positive image because a negative list sounds less comforting [for investors],” he said. “We are building an image that will help build foreign investors’ trust in us.”Bahlil had met with the Regional Representative Council (DPD) earlier that day to discuss the council’s initiative to formulate a bill that would ease the licensing process and improve coordination between the government and regional administrations.“The bill will lean more toward [tackling] the challenges that investors face on the regional level,” DPD Commission IV chairwoman Elviana said during the meeting in Jakarta.Read also: ‘Robots will replace everyone’: Investment boss changes tune after saying no one would hire womenDespite the government’s efforts to ease the process of doing business, such a reform often does not transmit to regional administrations as the latter require investors to go through different mechanisms to procure local licenses.Elviana said the council would complete the draft by the end of 2020 and aimed to list it in the 2021 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas).After the meeting, Bahlil declined to elaborate his stance on the issue, saying it was up to the lawmakers. Topics :center_img The government plans to issue at the end of this month a new investment list that will outline certain business sectors available for foreign direct investment, a high-ranking official has said.“The plan is to issue the list […] in the form of a Perpres [Presidential regulation] instead of in the omnibus bill,” Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) head Bahlil Lahadalia said in Jakarta on Wednesday, referring to an omnibus bill on job creation proposed by the government to cut regulatory red tape.“If the Perpres is issued in February, it will take effect in March,” he added, declining to go into detail and revealing only that the list was still being discussed.last_img read more

Foreign investment rules may be issued before omnibus laws: Senior minister

first_imgCoordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto has said that foreign investment rules – namely the priority investment list – may be issued by the government before the sweeping omnibus bills on job creation and taxation pass into law.Airlangga said the priority list would allow certain business sectors to get fiscal incentives such as tax holidays and super tax deductions. The government would also prohibit 100 percent foreign ownership in small and medium businesses.“We are still harmonizing [the investment list], and we will provide the priorities to investors so that during the list campaign we do not have to say, ‘These are the sectors that you are not allowed to invest in,’” the minister said at a media briefing in Jakarta on Monday evening. Read also: Government to liberalize investment in omnibus bill on job creationThe government has long floated the idea of changing the current negative investment list (DNI) to a so-called positive investment list. Currently, the DNI regulates which business sectors are open, prohibited or open with certain conditions to foreign investment.In the omnibus bill on job creation, the government will open all business sectors to direct investment except those it explicitly declares prohibited from such activity or those that can only be handled by the government.The prohibited areas are narcotics, gambling, chemical weapons, ozone-depleting substances, coral extraction and fishing for endangered species based on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Topics :center_img Further details on the investment policy will be regulated in a presidential regulation, the bill states.The government expects the bill, if passed into law, to cut regulatory red tape and attract more investment into the country to help boost stagnant economic growth. Indonesia’s economy grew by 5.02 percent last year, down from 5.17 percent in 2018, as investment and exports cooled.Read also: Key points of labor reform in omnibus bill on job creation: What we know so farPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration has also submitted to the House of Representatives the omnibus bill on taxation, which will lower corporate income tax from the current 25 percent to 20 percent by 2023. The bill will also lower tax penalties, ease income tax regulations for expatriates and work toward taxing multinational digital firms that have no physical presence in Indonesia but that benefit from activities in the local market.Airlangga said that labor-intensive industries would receive a tax holiday. “For instance, if a company wanted to build a garment factory with 2,000 workers, they would receive a tax holiday.”The minister added that large investments would also receive similar tax incentives, adding that an investment of US$750 million may allow a company to have a tax holiday for 15 years.last_img read more

Australia launches national inquiry into bushfires

first_imgMorrison said it would also be asked to consider establishing new powers for the federal government to declare a national state of emergency, which he argued would allow a faster response to fires.The conservative leader, who was criticised for his sluggish reaction to the months-long crisis, has defended his actions by pointing to regulations requiring states to formally request federal assistance.He claimed to have operated in a “constitutional grey zone” by deploying thousands of troops and reservists to assist in the bushfire recovery.”We did that without clear rules,” Morrison said. Australia set up a national inquiry Thursday into its five-month bushfire crisis that affected three in four Australians and prompted widespread criticism of the government for its sluggish response to the blazes.Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the vast scale of the fires — which killed more than 30 people and destroyed thousands of homes — required a new response from the bushfire-prone nation.The Royal Commission inquiry will be tasked with finding ways to improve Australia’s preparedness, resilience and response to natural disasters. Australia has seen dozens of inquests into the causes of bushfires and steps that could be taken to mitigate them, with mixed results.Many measures from the dozens of inquests going back to the 1930s have still not been implemented.The most recent crisis has sparked calls for Australia’s conservative government to take immediate action on climate change, with street protests urging Morrison to reduce the country’s reliance on coal.The prime minister belatedly acknowledged the link between the bushfire disaster and a warming planet, but also made clear his government plans to focus on climate adaption and building resilience ahead of measures to cut emissions.The inquiry will be led by former Air Force chief Mark Binskin, along with retired Federal Court judge Annabelle Bennett and environmental lawyer Professor Andrew Macintosh.Morrison said they would be required to report their findings by 31 August, “so recommendations can be acted upon before our next bushfire season”.The most recent bushfire season began in early September, with the first deaths recorded a month later.Topics :last_img read more

Astra International profits hit by lower car sales, commodity prices

first_imgTopics : The company’s net debt, excluding its financial services business, reached Rp 22.2 trillion as of December last year, soaring 70.8 percent yoy.“This was mainly caused by the group’s additional investment in its toll roads and Gojek as well as its capital expenditure in the mining contractor business,” Astra wrote in the statement.Net profit from the conglomerate’s automotive division, which contributed to a half of its business, slipped 1 percent yoy to Rp 8.4 trillion due to lower car sales volume and rising production costs.Astra’s car sales dropped 8 percent to 536,000 units last year as national car sales plunged 11 percent during the same period. Its motorcycle sales, however, slightly increased 3 percent yoy to 4.9 million units versus a 2 percent growth in national sales, the company stated.Indonesia’s car sales, seen as one of the main indicators in household spending, have stagnated at around 1 million units in the last couple of years as economic growth cooled. The country’s economy grew 5.02 percent last year, slower than the 5.17 percent in 2018.Read also: Lower commodity prices hit Isuzu, Daihatsu commercial vehicle salesMeanwhile, lower commodity prices also hit Astra’s performance last year. Its net income from the agribusiness division nosedived 85 percent to Rp 168 billion due to lower palm oil prices.The company’s subsidiary, publicly listed agribusiness company PT Astra Agro Lestari, recorded an 85 percent drop in its profit to Rp 211 billion as palm oil prices plunged 8 percent.The conglomerate’s property business net profit also halved to just Rp 83 billion last year.However, Astra’s financial and infrastructure and logistics businesses anchored the group’s performance by recording solid growth.“The group’s financial services business net profit increased 22 percent to Rp 5.9 trillion, mainly due to a larger financing portfolio and improving loan quality,” the company stated.Astra’s consumer financing business recorded an 8 percent increase in its disbursed financing, while Bank Permata booked Rp 1.5 trillion in net income with a jump of 66 percent yoy.Astra International announced in December 2019 an agreement to sell 44.6 percent of its stakes in Bank Permata to Bangkok Bank. The transaction is expected to conclude before the end of the year.Meanwhile, rising income from operating toll roads boosted the net profit of the conglomerate’s infrastructure and logistics division by 49 percent to Rp 292 billion.Read also: Bangkok Bank to acquire Bank Permata from Astra, Standard Chartered for $2.67b“The year 2020 is still a challenging one amid external macroeconomic uncertainties, competition in the car market and weak commodity prices,” Prijono said. “However, we believe that the group is in a good position to benefit from improving the economic situation.”Koneksi Kapital research head Alfred Nainggolan said Astra’s performance had weakened in the past couple of years as the automotive industry became saturated.“We project [Astra’s] automotive business to stay flat or slightly grow this year,” he said over text message, adding that commodity and heavy machinery businesses could be the conglomerate’s source of growth.He projected Astra’s net profit to grow slightly by 5 to 8 percent this year despite such a challenge. Diversified conglomerate PT Astra International recorded zero growth in its net profit last year, after booking a strong expansion in 2018, as the automotive and agribusiness sectors weakened.The publicly listed company pocketed Rp 21.7 trillion (US$1.57 billion) in net profit in 2019, barely unchanged from its achievement in 2018. Its consolidated revenue slipped 1 percent year-on-year (yoy) to Rp 237.2 trillion as automotive and agribusiness revenues plunged.In 2018, Astra managed to record a 15 percent annual growth in net profit, the company’s data showed.center_img “The group’s 2019 performance was affected by weakened domestic consumption and lower commodity prices but it benefited from improved performance of its financial services business and from its newly acquired gold mine,” Astra president director Prijono Sugiarto said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.Read also: Auto industry poised to recover this year after sales hit brakes in 2019The announcement came after Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) trading had closed. Stocks of the company, traded at the bourse with the code ASII, declined by 1.65 percent on Thursday when the main gauge, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), dropped 2.69 percent.The stocks have lost 19.39 percent of their value in the last year.last_img read more

Panic selling hits Indonesia, Philippine stocks set for bear run

first_imgIndonesia’s central bank is stepping up efforts to shield the economy. It’s already cut reserve ratios and signaled more measures to stem a rout in the rupiah and the nation’s bonds, while the government announced $742 million in stimulus.The Financial Services Authority said it will allow companies to buy back shares without shareholders’ approval and ease rules on loan restructuring for sectors hurt by the public health emergency. The nation’s stock exchange banned short selling and said it has other tools in the pipeline to ensure market stability.That hasn’t prevented a worsening of the stock rout, though.For the Philippines, many analysts and investors came into 2020 with an optimistic outlook, even though they were already hit by President Rodrigo Duterte’s verbal attacks on some of the nation’s biggest business groups for contracts he alleged were disadvantageous to the public.But the virus shattered all the hopes. Duterte declared a state of public health emergency after a local transmission, and several cities have suspended classes.“The rising number of the infected by the virus locally and globally is pushing the bear out of the cage,” said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at BDO Unibank Inc.“It seems the fear is yet to peak and until we see the outbreak is contained and a recovery in confidence we could stay in bear territory for awhile. As countries pursue containment and isolation, growth could further slow down and bring with it earnings.”Topics : Indonesian and Philippine stocks are among those heading for bear territory as another devastating day for equities unfolds.The Jakarta Composite Index dropped as much as 3.8 percent Monday, taking its slide from a peak in February 2018 to 21 percent. With a 5.8 percent plunge, the Philippine Stock Exchange Index is down 24 percent from a July high, becoming one of the world’s 10 worst performers this year.The markets are following their Malaysia and Thailand peers, which entered a bear market in the last week of February, while Japanese shares are also poised for a bear run Monday. Even though Indonesia and the Philippines have reported few coronavirus cases, fears over the economic impact of the outbreak are growing as the epidemic has reached about half of the world’s countries.Adding to that, oil prices crashed Monday after a breakdown of talks between OPEC and Russia on how to manage the world’s supply, sending shock waves through markets.“Cash is king for now for we don’t know how the global economy is exactly affected,” said Manny Cruz, a strategist at Papa Securities in Manila. “What disruption has the virus created and what extent of a slowdown that we will see in the global economy? The crash in global oil prices will create more panic.”Foreigners have been fleeing Southeast Asian markets this year. They have pulled US$393 million from Philippine equity funds and $462 million from Indonesian ones since January. Valuations for the Philippine benchmark index have sank to 12.6 times earnings projected for the next year, the lowest since November 2011, and to 12.4 for the Jakarta gauge, the lowest since October 2015, data compiled by Bloomberg show.last_img read more

Premier League suffers first postponement as Arsenal players quarantined

first_img“As a result, the players are unavailable for tonight’s (Wednesday’s) match against Manchester City and the Premier League has decided the game should be postponed.”The first postponement in the Premier League, which has a huge worldwide following, follows widespread disruption to football and other sports across the globe.Arsenal were knocked out of the Europa League by Olympiakos on February 27. Marinakis, owner of the Greek club and English side Nottingham Forest, announced on Tuesday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.But Arsenal said the players and staff, who met Marinakis after the game at the Emirates Stadium, will return to work on Friday ahead of Saturday’s trip to Brighton. “The medical advice we have received puts the risk of them developing COVID-19 at extremely low,” it added.Olympiacos players, backroom staff and board members have all tested negative, the club said in a statement on Wednesday.The Premier League called the move a “precautionary measure” and said there were no plans to postpone any other games.Arsenal’s opponents on Saturday, struggling Brighton, tweeted that their game was still on.”Albion’s match against Arsenal this Saturday remains scheduled to go ahead as planned, in line with government advice, and following consultation with the Premier League and medical advisors. #BHAFC,” they tweeted.The postponement means Liverpool’s hopes of winning their first title since 1991 without kicking a ball have been dashed.However, should City lose to Burnley on Saturday Jurgen Klopp’s side can seal their first Premier League title on Monday with the added spice they can do so by beating city rivals Everton.  ‘We’re not happy to go’  The Football Association, though, could take a financial hit according to the Daily Mail.The FA have no insurance covering public health epidemics or what are deemed force majeure ‘acts of God’.So if they are forced to cancel matches — which seems the likely scenario for the high profile friendly with Italy on March 27 — or play them behind closed doors, it will cost them £3 million ($3.9 million) a game.  Football’s Serie A and all other sports have been put on hold in Italy, while the top two divisions in Spain and France will be played in empty stadiums for at least the next two weeks.UEFA’s Champions League and Europa League have also been both forced to arrange matches behind closed doors as the epidemic spreads.Olympiakos host Wolverhampton Wanderers in Athens this week in the Europa League, in one of the last-16 games that will be played in front of an empty stadium. Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo has joined a number of managers, including Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, in voicing disquiet at being asked to play without fans.”If we have to go we will. But we don’t agree — we’re not happy to go,” he told Sky Sports.”Behind closed doors doesn’t make sense,” he added. “We’re pretending to live a normal life when things aren’t normal.”Topics :center_img Arsenal’s game at Manchester City on Wednesday was postponed after players from the London club were put into quarantine, making it the first Premier League football fixture to be called off because of coronavirus.Arsenal said players and four staff had been isolated at their homes after coming into contact with the owner of Greek club Olympiakos, Vangelis Marinakis, who has since tested positive for COVID-19.”We are strictly following the government guidelines which recommend that anyone coming into close contact with someone with the virus should self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact,” an Arsenal statement said.last_img read more

COVID-19: Jokowi forms fast-response team to contain virus

first_imgThe fast-response team is also responsible for handling the surveillance and isolation of suspected COVID-19 patients and coordinating with relevant stakeholders to ensure effective containment measures to curb possible wider contagion, including at the country’s entry points.The establishment of the fast-response team was mandated by Presidential Instruction (Inpres) No. 4/2019 on the improvement of the capability to prevent, detect and respond to plague, global pandemics and nuclear, biological and chemical security.As of Friday, coronavirus cases in Indonesia have jumped to 69. Four patients have died in isolation treatment. (gis)Topics : President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has formed a fast-response team led by National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) head Doni Monardo to handle efforts to prevent wider contagion of the fast-spreading coronavirus disease (COVID-19).Under the coordination of the BNPB, the Health Ministry, the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police, the team was tasked with spearheading measures to trace the movement of COVID-19 patients and those who had come in contact with them.”We know that this virus spreads rapidly. Thus we should carry out prevention and mitigation efforts simultaneously,” Jokowi said on Friday. “The government has and will continue to carry out contact tracing in this case.”last_img read more

Dow surges most since 2008 on hopes for stimulus

first_imgThe Stoxx Europe 600 Index also surged, led by insurers and industrial companies, even as data began to show the extent of economic damage to the region from the coronavirus pandemic. Benchmarks across Asia jumped, with Korea’s index soaring almost 9% after the government announced measures to stabilize markets.The dollar slumped against developed and emerging currencies alike, in a tentative sign of reduced stress after the greenback’s steepest appreciation since the global financial crisis and longest winning streak since 2012. European bonds tracked Treasuries lower.About $26 trillion has evaporated from equity markets since mid-February, and investors have been left sifting the wreckage and weigh the chances of a lasting rebound. On the one hand, Wall Street has begun to argue that liquidations are nearing an end with real-money investors like pension funds ready to step in, and there are signs of improvement in some of world’s regions that were hardest-hit by the virus. On the other, the number of infections globally continues to accelerate and many of the largest economies are grinding to a halt.Tuesday’s gain in risk assets follows an unprecedented move by the Federal Reserve to backstop large swaths of the financial system. Still, key gauges of US manufacturing and services in March fell the most on record, suggesting the deep toll the pandemic has already taken.“Sentiment has improved, but to call it a turning point is too strong a word for now,” said James McCormick, global head of desk strategy at NatWest Markets. “It is more of a tug-of-war. Policy bazooka is in place, but will be fighting against very weak data and still worrying trends on Covid-19 data. We are more neutral on risk assets now.”Elsewhere, emerging-market stocks jumped alongside their currencies. Gold extended recent a recent surge and industrial metals rallied.Topics : US stocks rallied, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up as much as 9.9 percent for the first time since 2008, as investors rediscovered some appetite for risk with Congress looking close to an unprecedented spending bill to prop up the slumping economy. The dollar halted a 10-day rally.The S&P 500 rebounded from the lowest level since 2016, poised to notch a third straight Tuesday turnaround after starting the week with a rout. Senators are negotiating the final sticking points in a roughly $2 trillion stimulus bill to help the US economy get through the coronavirus pandemic, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was hopeful a deal could be reached today.“Any sign of positive news coming out of Washington or the different sides coming together creates a bit of positive sentiment across markets,” said Peter Essele, head of portfolio management for Commonwealth Financial Network.last_img read more

Trump retweets #FireFauci after coronavirus scientist comments

first_imgUS President Donald Trump retweeted a call to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci after the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases said lives could have been saved if the country had shut down sooner during the novel coronavirus outbreak.Trump retweeted a message Sunday from a former Republican congressional candidate who cited Fauci’s comments during a television interview on Sunday and tweeted “time to #FireFauci.”Sorry Fake News, it’s all on tape. I banned China long before people spoke up. Thank you @OANN— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2020The Republican president in the past has repeated critical tweets of officials or enemies rather than make the criticism himself. The retweet fueled speculation Trump was running out of patience with the popular scientist and could conceivably fire him. Already a target of the far-right for his contradictions of Trump, Fauci drew more opprobrium after the comments.Trump also denounced the New York Times story in several tweets on Sunday, calling it “A Fake.”Last week during the daily White House coronavirus briefing, Trump stepped in and prevented Fauci from answering a question about hydroxychloroquine.Fauci, 79, has led the federal infectious disease agency since 1984 under Republican and Democratic presidents. Republican George W. Bush honored him with the presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008.Some polls during the public health crisis have shown Americans trust him more than Trump. Topics :center_img The White House did not immediately return a request for comment on whether Trump is unhappy with Fauci.Fauci has assumed national prominence as a leader in the fight against the coronavirus. He has contradicted or corrected Trump on scientific matters during the crisis, including whether the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine is effective against it.Fauci was asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” about a New York Times report documenting early warnings issued to the White House about the novel coronavirus. The scientist acknowledged shutting the country down sooner could have saved lives, but cautioned that a number of factors were involved.On #CNNSOTU with @jaketapper, Dr. Anthony Fauci says that an earlier shutdown “could have saved lives”— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) April 12, 2020″Obviously, it would have been nice if we had a better head start, but I don’t think you could say that we are where we are right now because of one factor,” Fauci said. “It’s very complicated.”last_img read more