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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                    6  August 2011

Indonesia consumer surveys are mixed

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Two consumer confidence surveys offered different views of how people felt about the Indonesian economy in July. Optimists were upbeat about job prospects over the next six months, while pessimists were concerned about inflation.

A monthly survey released on Thursday by Bank Indonesia showed that its consumer confidence index — taken from a survey of 4,600 households in 18 large cities — rose by 2.8 points last month to 111.8 from June.

Meanwhile, a Danareksa Research Institute survey showed a 2.2 point decline to 89.6 points in July, after rising 1.2 points in June. A consumer confidence index of more than 100 points means consumers are upbeat about the economy, but a falling index means consumers growing pessimistic.

Bank Indonesia said improving consumer confidence in the economic outlook for the rest of the year outpaced concerns about rising prices for basic commodities such as food and gas.

“According to consumers’ perceptions, as shown by the economic index, the economy is improving,” it said.

For the first time in two years, a subindex known as the Index of Economic Conditions rose above the 100-point mark. It gained 3.6 points to 102.5, which suggests consumers are becoming more optimistic.

The Consumer Expectation Index, another part of the broader survey, climbed 3.2 points to 121.1 on optimism that incomes and job availability would increase in the second half, bolstered by private and government projects that were to begin in the second semester.

The survey echoed analysts’ bullish views about the economy. The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) is expected to report today that gross domestic product rose 6.5 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, based on the median forecast of nine economists surveyed by the Jakarta Globe. That would match the first quarter’s growth rate.

However, Bank Indonesia’s survey said consumers were also wary of inflationary pressures over the next three to six months, which was reflected by the Price Expectation Index, which rose by 1.5 points to 181.3.

Major concerns for consumers were depleting stocks of rice and rising energy prices, particularly for gas and electricity, as the government plans to curb subsidies, the central bank said.

The Danareksa Research Institute survey, which sampled 1,700 households from six regions, showed the CCI falling after four straight months of rises.

Up to 60.9 percent of consumers surveyed were worried about the price of food items, up from 58.6 percent in June. The index that measures consumer sentiment toward inflation was up 3.5 points to 193.3 in July, the highest level since September 2008.

The government said on Monday that the consumer price index rose 4.6 percent year-on-year in July, the slowest rate since May 2010. It was also the sixth straight month that inflation eased, after peaking at 7 percent in January.


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