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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        9  February 2011

Rupiah strong, central bank may raise again

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Indonesia's rupiah traded near the strongest level in almost three months as rumor persisted that s Wednesday that the central bank will raise borrowing costs further to curb inflation.

Bank Indonesia lifted its reference rate for the first time in almost two years last week. Policy makers will increase the benchmark rate to 7.25 percent this year from 6.75 percent now, according to Bambang Eko Joewono, head of the global-markets division at Bank UOB Buana. The currency has gained 1.5 percent so far this month as exchange data show overseas funds bought $46 million more shares than they sold during the period.

"People say Bank Indonesia is behind the curve as inflation is still there," Jakarta-based Joewono said. "Funds are still coming in from offshore parties, which is strengthening the rupiah."

The rupiah traded at 8,918 per dollar as of 8:12 a.m. in Jakarta, compared with 8,919 yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It touched 8,898, the strongest level since Nov. 11.

Consumer prices in Southeast Asia's biggest economy rose 7.02 percent in January from a year earlier, the most in 21 months, according to official data


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ASEAN  ANALYSIS

This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs  
04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

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.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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