A Reuters poll found that Bank Indonesia (BI) will follow its regional peers and leave its interest rate unchanged on October 19, staying on the sidelines for longer than previously expected.
With inflation at a 19-month low of 2.28-percent in September, firmly within BI’s 2 to 4-percent target range, all 36-economists in the October 10 to 16 Reuters poll said the central bank would leave its seven-day reverse repurchase rate (IDCBRR=ECI) at 5.75-percent on Thursday for the ninth consecutive meeting.
However, a weakening rupiah, which is down around 7.5-percent from a 2023 high of IDR 14,560 per dollar on May 4, was likely to keep BI from easing anytime soon.
“BI along with most global central banks are just going to try and wait out the volatility we have seen in global markets recently, particularly in the U.S. Treasury markets,” said Lavanya Venkateswaran, senior ASEAN economist at OCBC Bank.
“More so because the currency has been under some pressure and there has been a relative underperformance compared to regional peers in the last week or so.”
Reuters say that while nearly 80-percent of economists, (23 of 29,) predicted BI would keep rates at 5.75-percent for the year, median forecasts showed the first 25-basis point cut to come in Q2 2024.
Just a month ago, the consensus was for policy easing to start in Q1 2024.
“We only expect BI to cut rates if there has been a clear signal/ forward guidance from the Fed that it would begin to ease policy. This may not happen until around Q2 next year or later,” wrote Barra Kukuh Mamia, senior economist at Bank Central Asia.
Indonesia’s economy is forecast to expand 5.0% this year, down from 5.3% in 2022, but within the BI’s growth target range of 4.5%-5.3%. It is expected to again grow 5.0% in 2024, say Reuters.
Source: Reuters, Reporting by Veronica Dudei Maia Khongwir; Polling by Milounee Purohit and Anant Chandak; Editing by Christina Fincher