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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     10 October  2011                    

Time to invest

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With global stock prices down, investors should take advantage and buy stocks, according to local fund managers and economists.

Jos Parengkuan, a director at fund manager Syailendra Capital, said that although it remained to be seen when the crises in Europe and the United States would end, they would not last forever.

“I believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There’s always a way out, even though we can’t see it yet,” he said.

The benchmark Jakarta Composite Index has fallen 8 percent since the start of the year to end on Friday at 3,425. On Aug. 1, the JCI closed at a record high of 4,193, but it went on to lose 21 percent through Sept. 26.

Among shares of companies with a large market value, Astra International fell to as low as Rp 57,000 in September after reaching a record high of Rp 75,000 in August. Astra, whose operations span automotive retailing and plantations, is Indonesia’s largest publicly traded company.

Faisal Basri, an economist who recently announced his bid to be Jakarta’s next governor, said local investors should remain calm.

“Even though we can’t trust the Central Statistics Agency [BPS] 100 percent, we have to believe that our economic fundamentals remain strong,” he said. “BPS claims there are only 32 million poor people in Indonesia. I don’t believe that, but I do believe that our economy is growing.”

The government has forecast that the economy will grow 6.5 percent this year, after expanding 6.1 percent in 2010.

Faisal said now was a good time for local investors to step in as foreign investors sold their shares.

“Inflation is controlled, the trade balance is getting better and we’re seeing a huge amount of foreign direct investment coming into the real sector,” Faisal said.

In August alone, according to Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) data, foreign investors sold Rp 8.4 trillion ($941 million) more in shares than they bought. In July, they were net buyers of Rp 5.2 trillion.

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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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