Offices

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Retail – Hopes for spin-off from IT boom

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Tension grows as densities rise

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Dock exchange

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Doors opening

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Disappearing act: Market braces for volatile March after $2.4b vanishes in a week

first_imgThe central bank and market players are expecting the worst in March as uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus drive volatility in stocks, bonds and foreign exchange markets.Bank Indonesia (BI) Governor Perry Warjiyo said on Friday that he expected the coronavirus crisis to peak in February and March, before a recovery in the second quarter. The central bank pumped Rp 87 trillion (US$6.2 billion) into the domestic bond market in February to prop up prices and the value of the rupiah as foreign funds sold US$2.4 billion worth of bonds and stocks.“We project the recovery will take about six months starting in mid-March or April,” Perry said. BI will continue to intervene to stabilize the bond market and the rupiah through the spot market, the domestic non-deliverable forward (NDF) market and by buying government bonds (SBN) in the secondary market, the governor added. The rupiah weakened to its lowest level since August 2019 on Friday at Rp 14,234 per US dollar, according to the Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate (JISDOR). Fitch Solutions announced it had revised down the rupiah’s outlook for 2020 from Rp 13,650 to Rp 14,207 against the greenback due to a higher risk of a local coronavirus outbreak.”The short-term drivers have turned negative due to the elevated global COVID-19 pandemic and likely local outbreak risk,” Fitch stated. “We believe that risks of local outbreaks are high, which, once reported, will exert significant downside pressure.”Read also: Coronavirus may weaken rupiah this year: Fitch SolutionsIndonesia has, so far, reported zero cases of coronavirus as countries outside China see more new cases than the country where the virus originated, increasing concerns about a global pandemic that could affect economies beyond the world’s second largest economy. Worldwide, more than 84,000 people have been infected with the virus and 2,870 have died.“The market does not like uncertainties. As as long as there’s no vaccine, no ability to cure or anything that could prevent spread, the market will continue to be unstable,” Sucor Sekuritas head of business development Bernadus Setya Ananda Wijaya said at a discussion forum in Jakarta on Saturday.Bernad estimated that recovery would start three months after the peak of the outbreak, which would mean that by April or May the stock market could be more stable, based on the experience from the SARS outbreak in 2002.The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) plans to begin reopening in March some of the 800 trading accounts that have been suspended for possible links to investment mismanagement by troubled state insurer Jiwasraya, he added, to help support the market.“Some of these are jumbo accounts that could move Indonesia’s stock market,” said Bernad. “At present, if foreign investors dump, the drop will be steep because there are no jumbo accounts to support.”The JCI fall would not go below the 5,000 level, about 8 percent lower than its position of 5,452.7 on Friday, analysts said. The benchmark index’s price valuation as measured by the price-to-earnings ratio is currently at 11 times, much lower than the index’s average PER of 16 times.Sucor Sekuritas is depending on cement, banking and construction stocks to drive growth in the domestic stock market, citing Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BBRI), Summarecon Agung (SMRA), Semen Indonesia (SMGR) and Wijaya Karya (WIKA), among others.Topics : Read also: Coronavirus crash wipes $5 trillion off world stocksLast week alone, foreign investors sold off a net Rp 29.4 trillion in the bond market and Rp 4.2 trillion in the stock market, according to data compiled by state-owned brokerage firm Mandiri Sekuritas. That rounded up a selling spree of Rp 33.6 trillion or $2.4 billion as countries outside China began to report more cases.Over the week, the benchmark stock index the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) fell 7.3 percent and the rupiah depreciated by 4.1 percent against the US dollar. Ten-year Indonesian government bond yields, which indicate investment risk, rose 35 basis points last week to 6.83 percent on Thursday, the third biggest increase after Turkey and Russia.“The biggest buyer of government bonds month-to-date is Bank Indonesia,” said Mandiri Sekuritas head of fixed income research Handy Yunianto. “Onshore banks also supported the bond market.”last_img read more

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COVID-19: Government calls for limits to all tourist activities

first_imgPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has urged Indonesians to practice social distancing, or staying far enough away from each other to avoid infection and to slow the spread of the disease, by “working from home, studying from home and worshiping from home”.Read also: COVID-19: Patchy response to President’s call to work from homeFor those tourist businesses that remain open, Wishnutama urged operators to limit operational hours, numbers of visitors and to implement health checks at entrances.“One of the ways is by ensuring sanitation by providing access to washing hands using running water and antiseptic soap, providing tissues or masks and disinfecting all facilities. Apart from those, provide body temperature thermometers,” the minister said. The government has finally called for the suspension of meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (MICE) activities, after previously trying to promote a tourist sector severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio said on Tuesday that now the priority was protecting health, safety and lives amid the spread of the novel coronavirus.“For the time being, limit activities that promote tourism and the creative economy. [We] also urge tourism and creative economy industry players not to organize meetings, incentives, conventions or exhibitions until the COVID-19 pandemic has been contained in accordance with the government’s instructions,” Wishnutama said in a press statement. Wishnutama appreciated the fast response taken by several regional governments and industry players who had decided to cancel or postpone activities or events. “We urge the public not to travel if not necessary, except for urgent needs, to implement social distancing, maintain hygiene and implement a healthy lifestyle,” he added.In the meantime, he said, businesses needed to actively participate in fighting the COVID-19 spread and the ministry would take advantage of downtime to plan strategies to promote tourism to benefit the people and national economy after recovery.Wishnutama’s message was a change of tone from earlier messages that the government would provide a fiscal stimulus to promote tourism, as part of the first Rp 10.2 trillion (US$ 671.8 million) stimulus package.The government has canceled all promotional plans, including channeling funds to influencers and promotions to attract foreign tourists, and instead will focus on providing tax breaks to tourism players as unveiled during the second stimulus package.Read also: Government allocates $8b to stimulate economy as businesses, workers suffer from COVID-19 impactsCOVID-19 has hit hard the tourist and creative economy sectors. Chairman of the Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) Hariyadi B. Sukamdani previously said Indonesian tourism had suffered losses of at least $1.5 billion since January as cancelations hit the industry, especially hotels, amid growing fears over the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.“The losses are growing as people prefer to stay at home rather than going on vacation,” Hariyadi, who also chairs the Indonesia Employer’s Association (Apindo), said in Jakarta on March 12.Occupancy rates at some hotels have dropped as low as 20 percent, according to the PHRI. Bali, Jakarta, Manado in North Sulawesi and Batam and Bintan in Riau Islands are currently the worst-hit areas.Topics :last_img read more

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Indonesian zoos launch ‘Food for Animals’ fundraiser as pandemic devours revenue

first_imgThe Indonesian Zoo Association (PKBSI) has launched an online fundraiser asking members of the public to help feed thousands of animals in captivity across the country as zoo revenue all but disappears during the COVID-19 pandemic.The campaign – called Food for Animals – is seeking funds to improve the living conditions of animals in Indonesian zoos, especially those endemic to the country, such as the Sumatran tiger, the Bornean orangutan and the Sumatran elephant. “Every conservation center in Indonesia has been out of operation since March. However, operational costs related to supplies of animal feed, medicine and salaries for keepers and veterinarians still have to be provided,” the association wrote on its official Instagram account @pkbsi on Saturday. Read also: Medan Zoo seeks donations to feed animals at risk of ‘dying from hunger’It went on to say that every donation it received would be immediately distributed to the zoos affiliated with the association that were most affected by the ongoing health and economic crisis.A survey conducted by the PKBSI last month showed that 92 percent of the association’s members in Sumatra, Java, Bali, Lombok and Borneo – 55 zoos – had only enough stock to feed their animals until mid-May.The survey also found that only three zoos would be able to provide food for one to three months, while only two had enough for more than three months.The association’s member zoos house more than 70,000 animals from 4,912 species endemic to Indonesia and from other species from outside of the country’s ecosystems.center_img Topics :last_img read more

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UN voices ‘horror’ after reports of Libya mass graves

first_imgSeveral presumed mass graves have been discovered near Tarhuna, southeast of the capital Tripoli, since it was seized back by forces loyal to the UN-recognized Government of National Accord on June 5. An AFP journalist on Thursday was granted access to a site where several bodies had been discovered and exhumed by the Libyan Red Crescent for identification the day before. Scraps of clothing were scattered around the site near graves covered with fresh soil. “We are searching all the mass graves to identify the bodies and return them to their families,” said GNA interior minister Fathi Bachagha, who was in Tarhuna on Thursday. UNSMIL welcomed a decision on Thursday by the justice minister to establish a committee to investigate the finds. “We call on its members to promptly undertake the work aimed at securing the mass graves, identifying the victims, establishing causes of death & returning the bodies to next of kin,” it said.Separately, 160 bodies were also discovered in the morgue by GNA forces upon their arrival in the city, according to the director of Tarhuna’s public hospital, Aburawi al-Buzeidi.The bodies “were transferred to Tripoli and Misrata by the Red Crescent”, he told journalists, giving no further detail.Tarhuna was the main rear base for a devastating year-long offensive by eastern-based Haftar’s forces to seize the capital from the unity government.Pro-Haftar forces backed by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates had been battling since April in fighting that has left hundreds dead and forced 200,000 to flee their homes.In recent weeks the GNA, reinforced with Turkish drones and air defenses, has staged a pounding counter-attack to regain control of the whole of the northwest.Haftar’s forces this month abandoned their remaining positions in the southern suburbs to advancing government troops.The US, EU and other foreign powers have called for a ceasefire following Haftar’s losses in Tripoli.But the resurgent GNA has vowed to push on for Sirte, Kadhafi’s hometown and the last major settlement before the traditional boundary between western Libya and Haftar’s stronghold in the east.The GNA’s counter-assault is the latest round of fighting in years of violence following the 2011 toppling and killing of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a Western-backed uprising. The United Nations voiced “horror” after reports that eight mass graves had been discovered in an area recently seized by the unity government after forces loyal to eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar withdrew. “UNSMIL notes with horror reports on the discovery of at least eight mass graves in past days, the majority of them in Tarhuna,” the UN mission said in a statement on Twitter. “International law requires that the authorities conduct prompt, effective & transparent investigations into all alleged cases of unlawful deaths,” it added.center_img Topics :last_img read more

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‘Disinfecting non-stop’ as Italy faces two new virus outbreaks

first_imgMany of the windows were shuttered in the orange brick block of flats, typical of the buildings that sprang up in the outskirts of Rome during the 1970s.The squatters also receive aid from an NGO.An employee at a nearby grocery store who gave his name only as Ion said the inhabitants were both South American and Italian, “working people, mainly families”.He added that some of the flats share toilets.”This doesn’t worry us very much,” he said. “We’re wearing masks and being careful.”But Raffaele, a 77-year-old who lives nearby, complained that “there is absolutely no check (on) constant comings and goings of people from all over the world.”He said he feared that such transience could help spread the coronavirus. “Let’s say we are being very careful, we are disinfecting non-stop.”  ‘No illusions’ Meanwhile two army vehicles were stationed outside the San Raffaele Pisana hospital on Sunday, but the situation appeared under control.Health officials said rigorous contact tracing was under way, with some 200 recent patients being tested.The two new outbreaks of COVID-19 came as Italy was re-emerging from lockdown in a phased process that began in early May.The epidemic appeared under control even in its epicenter in the northern Lombardy region.”No one had any illusions that the problems were over,” WHO deputy director Ranieri Guerra told Italian journalists. “It means the virus hasn’t lost its infectiousness, it isn’t weakening… we shouldn’t let down our guard.”However, the Italian immunologist added: “Such micro-outbreaks were inevitable, but they are limited in time and space. And today we have the tools to intercept them and confine them.”Italy, which went under nationwide quarantine on March 10, has been one of the hardest-hit countries in the world by COVID-19, mostly in the north.  Topics : Rome’s regional COVID-19 crisis center said all those who tested positive for the virus at the illegally occupied building had been transferred. All their contacts were identified and 108 tests were carried out.After the uproar of blaring ambulances to handle the new cluster of cases, the southern working-class district of Garbatella returned to normal on Sunday, apart from the police tape and a squad car outside the building, as well as a posse of journalists.Mask-wearing shoppers could be seen buying groceries, a man walking his dog, another throwing garbage into an overflowing bin.”Occupants who are still in the building are confined there,” a police officer told AFP, adding that the Red Cross was delivering food to them. Yellow police tape — a familiar sight across Italy since the coronavirus began sweeping the country in March — reappeared at the weekend outside a Rome squat where around 15 new cases have emerged.Health workers insist the outbreak among squatters including a Peruvian family is under control, at a time when Italy is cautiously relaxing measures to contain the disease that has claimed more than 34,000 lives.A second outbreak was far bigger and occurred at a hospital on the western edge of Rome, with 109 cases and five deaths.last_img read more

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