Survey of Recent Developments

Shiro Armstrong, Sjamsu Rahardja

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    As Indonesia heads to the polls in 2014, its economy is slowing. The end of the commodities boom and the global return to more normal monetary policy has exposed some weaknesses. Exchange-rate depreciation has absorbed some of the adjustment; but structural rigidities are still likely to limit the expansion of non-commodity sectors, and the increased fuel-subsidy bill for imported oil is putting pressure on the current account and the budget. The immediate focus is on demand-side consolidation to manage inflation and the currentaccount deficit.For an economy like Indonesia's to be overheating, and for monetary and fiscal authorities to be engineering a soft landing, when growth is below 6%, points to major structural problems. If Indonesia is to prevent the current rate of growth from becoming the new normal, there will need to be a substantial supply-side response to lift productivity, as well as a restructuring of the economy and the introduction of policies that make the economy more flexible in adjusting to shocks. The current economic slowdown has yet to trigger sweeping reforms; policy coordination remains problematic as Indonesia enters a big political year.Compared with its neighbours, Indonesia is largely on the outside of the regional production networks, and its manufacturing sector does not play into factory Asia. Now, faced with lower commodity prices globally-and growth in non-resource sectors is critical- the lack of a large manufacturing base appears to be a weakness. Indonesia is attracting more foreign direct investment than ever and is climbing the global rankings of preferred economies in which to invest, but this is occurring without improvements to its investment environment or competitiveness. Indonesia can participate more fully in global supply chains and increase its potential for growth by upgrading its infrastructure, improving its investment environment, and using regional initiatives strategically to make strong commitments that reinforce its priorities for domestic reform.In its hosting of APEC in 2013, Indonesia championed infrastructure investment where the lack of structural reform and macroeconomic constraints are inhibiting much-needed expansion, both in Indonesia and in the region. The positive outcome, albeit only a small step forward for the Doha Round, at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, in December, also builds momentum for better regional and global cooperation. The priority now is for Indonesia to commit to, and show leadership in, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3-28
    JournalBulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies
    Volume50
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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