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March 16, 2009

Indonesia's President sees economy expanding in 2009

Indonesia's economy will expand 4.5 percent this year, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Sunday, reiterating the government's forecast which is more optimistic than the central bank's outlook.

Bank Indonesia, the central bank, earlier this month cut its 2009 GDP forecast to 4 percent, from 4-5 percent previously, marking a slowdown from the 6.1 percent expansion in 2008.

"We will continue to adjust from month to month the realistic outlook (for growth) that we can achieve," Yudhoyono was quoted by Reuters as telling reporters at his house in Bogor, just outside the capital Jakarta.

"So far, the government and parliament have no need to revise the target of 4.5 percent that we will achieve this year. We will take all steps. Whatever we can do, we will do."

Southeast Asia's top economy, which faces parliamentary elections on April 9 and presidential elections on July 8, has been hit by weakening global demand for its commodities and manufactured goods.

Economic growth, job creation and tackling corruption are among the key issues for voters this year, with the official campaign season due to kick off on Monday.

The government has launched a 73.3 trillion rupiah ($6.12 billion) fiscal stimulus package to create jobs and lift growth, key issues to woo voters in the upcoming general elections.

While Indonesia is more dependent on domestic demand than on exports, economists have warned of slowing consumer spending, which could hit growth further.a
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