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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs          9  July 2011

JCI moves into new territory

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Indonesia's benchmark index broke new ground with its latest record close, climbing above the 4,000 level amid positive news from home.

The Jakarta Composite Index rose 64.22 points, or 1.63 percent, to close at 4,003.69, breaking the 4,000 mark for the first time. It finished the week up 2 percent.

Janson Nasrial, an analyst at AmCapital Indonesia, said the promise of positive US employment news helped drive the market higher. The JCI closed before weaker than expected US jobs figures were released.

On the domestic front, he said, Indonesia's economic growth may have accelerated in the second quarter. The economy grew 6.5 percent in the first quarter.

"Growth in the first quarter was 6.5 percent, and the pace in the second quarter will be better than that. That was indicated by the recent export data," Janson said. The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) is scheduled to announce the data in early August.

From January to May, exports rose 33.86 percent to $68.51 billion, the BPS said. The trade surplus reached $3.5 billion in May and $11.77 billion in the first five months of this year.

About 5.37 billion shares worth Rp 5.86 trillion ($691.5 million) changed hands on Friday. Gainers beat decliners 131 to 76. Foreign investors bought Rp 611 billion more in shares than they sold.

The index, which has risen 8.11 percent this year, broke the 3,000 mark on July 21, 2010. It gained 46 percent in 2010 and closed the year at 3,703.51.

Astra International, the country's largest listed auto manufacturer, rose 2.96 percent to close at Rp 67,800. Janson said investors were upbeat as its supply chain from Japan had recovered and, starting this month, Astra was operating at full capacity.

The finance and consumer goods sectors were among the best performers, gaining 2.32 percent and 1.55 percent, respectively. Bank Indonesia will hold its next monetary policy meeting on Tuesday, and analysts expect it to keep its interest rate at 6.25 percent amid steadily slowing inflation, boosting consumers' purchasing power.

Cigarette maker HM Sampoerna gained 1.22 percent to Rp 29,100 while Unilever rose 1.69 percent to Rp 15,000. Bank Central Asia closed at Rp 8,050, up 3.21 percent.

Jason said he expected the JCI to keep rising this month as companies announce their earnings, though the ongoing euro zone crisis could send ripples through the markets.

The rupiah strengthened on Friday, trading at 8,524 to the US dollar from 8,532 the day before.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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