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NEWS UPDATES 5 November 2010

Indonesian growth slows in third quarter

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Indonesia's economic growth unexpectedly slowed last quarter, cooling an expansion that has spurred capital inflows and pushed stocks to a record high.

Gross domestic product (GDP) increased 5.8 percent in the three months to Sept. 30 from a year earlier, after growing 6.2 percent in the previous quarter, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. That was lower than the 6.35 percent median estimate many economists predicted.

The central bank has refrained from raising interest rates from a record-low 6.5 percent, delaying an increase that could attract more funds and strengthen the currency. Bank Indonesia left borrowing costs unchanged for a 15th meeting yesterday even as it said price pressures may increase amid higher demand for goods and services at the year-end.

"Indonesia remains a domestically driven economy and the fundamentals at home are strong," Prakriti Sofat, an economist at Barclays Capital in Singapore, said before the report. She cited "upbeat consumers, positive wealth effect from equity markets, rising capital goods imports" as reasons for the nation's growth.

The rupiah has risen more than 5 percent against the U.S. currency this year as economic growth and a benchmark rate that's higher than those in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines lures investors. It reached 8,875 per dollar before the GDP report today, the strongest level since June 2007.

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