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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        2  April 2011

Indonesian Shipments to Japan Plunge

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Indonesia’s exports to Japan, a key buyer for this nation’s commodities and energy resources, declined by 25 percent to $809 million in March, the Central Statistics Agency announced on Friday.

“This is based on the monitoring of our goods as they have entered Japanese seaports. There are 60 seaports there,” said Rusman Heriawan, head of the agency also known as the BPS.

No nationwide data for exports in March have been officially released, but as Japan ranks as the No. 1 destination for Indonesia’s non-oil and gas exports, disruption from the disasters there is feared to hurt exports in months to come, although most analysts believe the impact will be temporary. No figures were available for oil and gas, but Japan is a leading destination in that sector as well.

“Exports to Japan will slow in the second quarter … but Japan will be going through reconstruction and this will increase Indonesia’s exports to Japan, especially gas, coal and palm oil. On a national scale, the impact will be small,” Fauzi Ichsan of Standard Chartered said.

A report on Friday showed that Japanese manufacturing activity had fallen at the fastest pace in at least nine years in March. Honda and Sony are among those that have halted production after the disasters.

In February, Japan beat the United States, China and the European Union as Indonesia’s biggest customer, with total shipments valued at $1.66 billion, up from $1.21 billion in January.

Bumi Resources, the world’s biggest supplier of power station coal, has said it expects higher demand from Japan as the nation rebuilds and seeks alternative energy supplies to compensate for lost nuclear power after the tsunami struck.

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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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