The Jakarta Globe RSS: Business http://www.thejakartaglobe.com 2013 The Jakarta Globe Your City, Your World Sat, 18 Apr 2015 23:47:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/images/jakarta-globe.gif http://www.thejakartaglobe.com New Google Security Chief Looks for Balance With Privacy http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396829 Sat, 18 Apr 2015 11:48:44 +0700 Mountain View, California. Google has a new sheriff keeping watch over the wilds of the Internet. Austrian-born Gerhard Eschelbeck has ranged the British city of Oxford; cavorted at notorious Def Con hacker conclaves, wrangled a herd of startups, and camped out in Silicon Valley. He now holds the reins of security and privacy for all-things Google. In an exclusive interview with AFP, Eschelbeck spoke of using Google’s massive scope to protect users from cyber villains such as spammers and state-sponsored spies. “The size of our computing infrastructure allows us to process, analyze, and research the changing threat landscape and look ahead to predict what is coming,” Eschelbeck said during his first one-on-one press interview in his new post. “Security is obviously a constant race; the key is how far can you look ahead.” Eschelbeck took charge of Google’s 500-strong security and privacy team early this year, returning to Silicon Valley after running engineering for a computer security company in Oxford for two years. “It was a very natural move for me to join Google,” Eschelbeck said. “What really excited me was doing security at large scale.” Google’s range of global services and products means there are many fronts for a security expert to defend. Google’s size also means there are arsenals of powerful computer servers for defenders to employ and large-scale data from which to discern cyber dangers. Eschelbeck’s career in security stretches back two decades to a startup he built while a university student in Austria that was acquired by security company McAfee. What started out as a six-month work stint in California where McAfee is based turned into a 15-year stay by Eschelbeck. He created and advised an array of computer security startups before heading off to Oxford. Eschelbeck, has worked at computer technology titans such as Sophos and Qualys, and holds patents for network security technologies. Constant attack He was confident his team was up to the challenge of fending off cyber attacks, even from onslaughts of sophisticated operations run by the likes of the US National Security Agency or the Chinese military. Eschelbeck vowed that he would “absolutely” find any hacker that came after his network. “As a security guy, I am never comfortable,” he said. “But, I do have a very strong team ... I have confidence we have the right reactive and proactive defense mechanisms as well.” State-sponsored cyber attacks making news in the past year come on top of well-known trends of hacking expressly for fun or profit. The sheer numbers of attack “vectors” has rocketed exponentially over time, with weapons targeting smartphones, applications, data centers, operating systems and more. “You can safely assume that every property on the Internet is continuously under attack,” Eschelbeck said. “I feel really strong about our ability to identify them before they become a threat and the ability to block and prevent them from entering our environment.” Scrambling data Eschelbeck is a backer of encrypting data, whether it be an email to a friend or photos stored in the cloud. “I hope for a time when all the traffic on the Internet is encrypted,” he said. “You’re not sending a letter to your friend in a transparent envelop, and that is why encryption in transport is so critical.” He believes that within five years, accessing accounts with no more than passwords will be a thing of the past. Google lets people require code numbers sent to phones be used along with passwords to access accounts in what is referred to as “two-factor” authentication. The Internet titan also provides “safe browsing” technology that warns people when they are heading to websites rigged to attack visitors. Google identifies about 50,000 malicious websites monthly, and another 90,000 phishing websites designed to trick people into giving up their passwords or other valuable personal information, Eschelbeck said. “We have some really great visibility into the Web, as you can imagine,” he said. “The time for us to recognize a bad site is incredibly short.” Doubling-down on privacy Eschelbeck saw the world of online security as fairly black and white, while the privacy side of his job required subjective interpretations. Google works closely with data protection authorities in Europe and elsewhere to try and harmonize privacy protections with the standards in various countries. “I really believe that with security and privacy, there is more overlap than there are differences,” he said. “We have made a tremendous effort to focus and double-down on privacy issues.” As have other large Internet companies, Google has routinely made public requests by government agencies for information about users. Requests are carefully reviewed, and only about 65 percent of them satisfied, according to Google. “Privacy, to me, is protecting and securing my activities; that they are personal to myself and not visible to the whole wide world,” Eschelbeck said. Agence France-Presse]]> Mountain View, California. Google has a new sheriff keeping watch over the wilds of the Internet. Austrian-born Gerhard Eschelbeck has ranged the British city of Oxford; cavorted at notorious Def Con hacker conclaves, wrangled a herd of startups, and camped out in Silicon Valley. He now holds the reins of security and privacy for all-things Google. In an exclusive interview with AFP, Eschelbeck spoke of using Google’s massive scope to protect users from cyber villains such as spammers and state-sponsored spies. “The size of our computing infrastructure allows us to process, analyze, and research the changing threat landscape and look ahead to predict what is coming,” Eschelbeck said during his first one-on-one press interview in his new post. “Security is obviously a constant race; the key is how far can you look ahead.” Eschelbeck took charge of Google’s 500-strong security and privacy team early this year, returning to Silicon Valley after running engineering for a computer security company in Oxford for two years. “It was a very natural move for me to join Google,” Eschelbeck said. “What really excited me was doing security at large scale.” Google’s range of global services and products means there are many fronts for a security expert to defend. Google’s size also means there are arsenals of powerful computer servers for defenders to employ and large-scale data from which to discern cyber dangers. Eschelbeck’s career in security stretches back two decades to a startup he built while a university student in Austria that was acquired by security company McAfee. What started out as a six-month work stint in California where McAfee is based turned into a 15-year stay by Eschelbeck. He created and advised an array of computer security startups before heading off to Oxford. Eschelbeck, has worked at computer technology titans such as Sophos and Qualys, and holds patents for network security technologies. Constant attack He was confident his team was up to the challenge of fending off cyber attacks, even from onslaughts of sophisticated operations run by the likes of the US National Security Agency or the Chinese military. Eschelbeck vowed that he would “absolutely” find any hacker that came after his network. “As a security guy, I am never comfortable,” he said. “But, I do have a very strong team ... I have confidence we have the right reactive and proactive defense mechanisms as well.” State-sponsored cyber attacks making news in the past year come on top of well-known trends of hacking expressly for fun or profit. The sheer numbers of attack “vectors” has rocketed exponentially over time, with weapons targeting smartphones, applications, data centers, operating systems and more. “You can safely assume that every property on the Internet is continuously under attack,” Eschelbeck said. “I feel really strong about our ability to identify them before they become a threat and the ability to block and prevent them from entering our environment.” Scrambling data Eschelbeck is a backer of encrypting data, whether it be an email to a friend or photos stored in the cloud. “I hope for a time when all the traffic on the Internet is encrypted,” he said. “You’re not sending a letter to your friend in a transparent envelop, and that is why encryption in transport is so critical.” He believes that within five years, accessing accounts with no more than passwords will be a thing of the past. Google lets people require code numbers sent to phones be used along with passwords to access accounts in what is referred to as “two-factor” authentication. The Internet titan also provides “safe browsing” technology that warns people when they are heading to websites rigged to attack visitors. Google identifies about 50,000 malicious websites monthly, and another 90,000 phishing websites designed to trick people into giving up their passwords or other valuable personal information, Eschelbeck said. “We have some really great visibility into the Web, as you can imagine,” he said. “The time for us to recognize a bad site is incredibly short.” Doubling-down on privacy Eschelbeck saw the world of online security as fairly black and white, while the privacy side of his job required subjective interpretations. Google works closely with data protection authorities in Europe and elsewhere to try and harmonize privacy protections with the standards in various countries. “I really believe that with security and privacy, there is more overlap than there are differences,” he said. “We have made a tremendous effort to focus and double-down on privacy issues.” As have other large Internet companies, Google has routinely made public requests by government agencies for information about users. Requests are carefully reviewed, and only about 65 percent of them satisfied, according to Google. “Privacy, to me, is protecting and securing my activities; that they are personal to myself and not visible to the whole wide world,” Eschelbeck said. Agence France-Presse]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396829 G-20 More Upbeat on Growth, but Officials Fret Over Greece http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396771 Sat, 18 Apr 2015 09:18:49 +0700 Washington. The Group of 20 leading economies struck a hopeful tone on the outlook for global growth on Friday, even as officials fretted that Athens' inability to strike a deal with its lenders could upset Europe's tentative recovery. In a communique after a two-day meeting, G-20 finance ministers and central bankers welcomed brighter economic signs in rich nations, but lamented weakness in emerging markets. "Risks to the global economy are more balanced since we last met," the finance officials said. "Near-term prospects in advanced economies, notably the euro area and Japan, have improved recently, while the U.S. and UK continue to record solid growth, which could support a stronger global recovery." Still, the group of developed and emerging market nations, which represent around 80 percent of global economic output, cited challenges from an array of sources, including exchange rate volatility and geopolitical tensions. Greece was not mentioned by name in the communique and Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, speaking on behalf of the G-20, said the issue of Greece did not feature in the formal discussions. But uncertainty over whether Athens could reach agreement with its European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders over new bailout terms in time to meet big upcoming debt payments cast a cloud over the gathering and other talks on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank spring meetings. "The mood is notably more gloomy than at the last international gathering," British finance minister George Osborne told reporters. "It's clear now to me that a misstep or a miscalculation on either side could easily return European economies to the kind of perilous situation we saw three to four years ago." Pressure on Athens to strike deal The new leftist government in Athens must come forward with economic reforms acceptable to the IMF and EU before bailout funds are unlocked, but the negotiations have been moving at a crawl. "It's important that we in the coming days make significant progress, that the process gains momentum," IMF European Department Director Poul Thomsen told reporters. "There needs to be a comprehensive package, and that will clearly take several weeks or more of discussions." The United States pressed Athens to commit more fully to discussions over the nuts-and-bolts of proposed reforms. "Not reaching agreement would create immediate hardship for Greece, and uncertainties for Europe and the global economy more broadly," U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in a statement. In a sign of the seriousness with which officials are taking the risk that negotiations founder, the European Central Bank has analyzed a scenario in which Greece runs out of money and starts paying civil servants with IOUs, people with knowledge of the exercise told Reuters. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, chairman of the euro zone finance ministers group, warned that Greece and the euro zone should not try to see who could hold out longer in negotiations. "Let's not go into a game of chicken to see who can stick it out longer. We have a joint interest to reach an agreement quickly," Dijsselbloem said. But he acknowledged it would take at least a couple more weeks to come to an agreement between Athens and the euro zone, possibly in time for the May 11 meeting of euro zone finance ministers and just a day before Greece has to make a large loan repayment. Concerns about Greece contributed to big stock price declines in Europe and on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing down about 279 points, or 1.5 percent. Bracing for Fed action While the G-20 sounded guardedly optimistic on the global economy, it pointed to a risk of financial volatility as the U.S. Federal Reserve prepares to raise interest rates. "In an environment of diverging monetary policy settings and rising financial market volatility, policy settings should be carefully calibrated and clearly communicated to minimize negative spillovers," the communique said. The main worry centers on emerging markets, which have been beset by capital outflows as investors placed bets on higher U.S. interest rates. The G-20 said nations could protect themselves if needed by taking steps to curb sharp capital movements. Reuters]]> Washington. The Group of 20 leading economies struck a hopeful tone on the outlook for global growth on Friday, even as officials fretted that Athens' inability to strike a deal with its lenders could upset Europe's tentative recovery. In a communique after a two-day meeting, G-20 finance ministers and central bankers welcomed brighter economic signs in rich nations, but lamented weakness in emerging markets. "Risks to the global economy are more balanced since we last met," the finance officials said. "Near-term prospects in advanced economies, notably the euro area and Japan, have improved recently, while the U.S. and UK continue to record solid growth, which could support a stronger global recovery." Still, the group of developed and emerging market nations, which represent around 80 percent of global economic output, cited challenges from an array of sources, including exchange rate volatility and geopolitical tensions. Greece was not mentioned by name in the communique and Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, speaking on behalf of the G-20, said the issue of Greece did not feature in the formal discussions. But uncertainty over whether Athens could reach agreement with its European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders over new bailout terms in time to meet big upcoming debt payments cast a cloud over the gathering and other talks on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank spring meetings. "The mood is notably more gloomy than at the last international gathering," British finance minister George Osborne told reporters. "It's clear now to me that a misstep or a miscalculation on either side could easily return European economies to the kind of perilous situation we saw three to four years ago." Pressure on Athens to strike deal The new leftist government in Athens must come forward with economic reforms acceptable to the IMF and EU before bailout funds are unlocked, but the negotiations have been moving at a crawl. "It's important that we in the coming days make significant progress, that the process gains momentum," IMF European Department Director Poul Thomsen told reporters. "There needs to be a comprehensive package, and that will clearly take several weeks or more of discussions." The United States pressed Athens to commit more fully to discussions over the nuts-and-bolts of proposed reforms. "Not reaching agreement would create immediate hardship for Greece, and uncertainties for Europe and the global economy more broadly," U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in a statement. In a sign of the seriousness with which officials are taking the risk that negotiations founder, the European Central Bank has analyzed a scenario in which Greece runs out of money and starts paying civil servants with IOUs, people with knowledge of the exercise told Reuters. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, chairman of the euro zone finance ministers group, warned that Greece and the euro zone should not try to see who could hold out longer in negotiations. "Let's not go into a game of chicken to see who can stick it out longer. We have a joint interest to reach an agreement quickly," Dijsselbloem said. But he acknowledged it would take at least a couple more weeks to come to an agreement between Athens and the euro zone, possibly in time for the May 11 meeting of euro zone finance ministers and just a day before Greece has to make a large loan repayment. Concerns about Greece contributed to big stock price declines in Europe and on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing down about 279 points, or 1.5 percent. Bracing for Fed action While the G-20 sounded guardedly optimistic on the global economy, it pointed to a risk of financial volatility as the U.S. Federal Reserve prepares to raise interest rates. "In an environment of diverging monetary policy settings and rising financial market volatility, policy settings should be carefully calibrated and clearly communicated to minimize negative spillovers," the communique said. The main worry centers on emerging markets, which have been beset by capital outflows as investors placed bets on higher U.S. interest rates. The G-20 said nations could protect themselves if needed by taking steps to curb sharp capital movements. Reuters]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396771 New Zealand Says Canada Must Get Serious on Pacific Trade Pact http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396766 Sat, 18 Apr 2015 09:02:47 +0700 Washington. Canada must make a meaningful offer to open its markets under a Pacific trade pact now that the United States is moving ahead with a key piece of trade legislation, New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser said on Friday. Groser hailed the introduction of fast-track legislation in the US Congress on Thursday and countries can now clear up remaining sticking points in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). "It's an enormous positive step forward and it opens the door now to the TPP endgame," Groser told Reuters of the bill to streamline the passage of trade deals through Congress. The move cleared the way for Canada to engage on market access and open up a protected dairy industry which "looks like it belongs in the former Soviet Union." "We expect Canada to ... now start to engage in a serious way. We can give them lots of flexibility in terms of timing, safeguards, and other transitional mechanisms to allow a politically realistic adjustment process, but now's the time for Canada to speak," he said. It was "inconceivable" for Canada to drop out of the TPP, which will cover 40 percent of the world economy and stretch from Japan to Chile, he said. Canada and Japan have been reluctant to put final offers on the table without assurances US lawmakers will not pick apart agreements afterwards. The fast-track bill limits Congress to a yes-or-no vote, with no amendments. Groser said it would be "enormously helpful" if Japan and the United States could reach a bilateral deal on auto and farm exports at a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Barack Obama in late April. For the US Congress to approve the TPP this year, negotiations will need to be complete by mid-year. As for fast track, Groser hoped Congress would consider and pass the bill expeditiously. "Congressional professionals would never have introduced this bill if they were not reasonably confident that they had the numbers to pass it," he said. Reuters]]> Washington. Canada must make a meaningful offer to open its markets under a Pacific trade pact now that the United States is moving ahead with a key piece of trade legislation, New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser said on Friday. Groser hailed the introduction of fast-track legislation in the US Congress on Thursday and countries can now clear up remaining sticking points in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). "It's an enormous positive step forward and it opens the door now to the TPP endgame," Groser told Reuters of the bill to streamline the passage of trade deals through Congress. The move cleared the way for Canada to engage on market access and open up a protected dairy industry which "looks like it belongs in the former Soviet Union." "We expect Canada to ... now start to engage in a serious way. We can give them lots of flexibility in terms of timing, safeguards, and other transitional mechanisms to allow a politically realistic adjustment process, but now's the time for Canada to speak," he said. It was "inconceivable" for Canada to drop out of the TPP, which will cover 40 percent of the world economy and stretch from Japan to Chile, he said. Canada and Japan have been reluctant to put final offers on the table without assurances US lawmakers will not pick apart agreements afterwards. The fast-track bill limits Congress to a yes-or-no vote, with no amendments. Groser said it would be "enormously helpful" if Japan and the United States could reach a bilateral deal on auto and farm exports at a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Barack Obama in late April. For the US Congress to approve the TPP this year, negotiations will need to be complete by mid-year. As for fast track, Groser hoped Congress would consider and pass the bill expeditiously. "Congressional professionals would never have introduced this bill if they were not reasonably confident that they had the numbers to pass it," he said. Reuters]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396766 Allianz Enjoys Solid Growth in Indonesia Microinsurance Business http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396731 Fri, 17 Apr 2015 22:29:48 +0700 Jakarta. German insurance company Allianz saw the number of its Indonesian micro-insurance clients surge by nearly half last year  as it expands its reach in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. The Munich-based insurer provides insurance with premiums that start from as low as 1 euro ($1.08) a year for 3.8 million people in Indonesia, up 46 percent from a year earlier, according to the Allianz Group Sustainability Report 2014 published on Friday. Allianz micro-insurance performance in Indonesia trails India, its biggest growth market with 39.8 million people insured, expanding 75 percent in 2014. The two countries constitute almost all of Allianz’s $114 million micro-insurance business globally. The company said that low incomes in developing country are the most vulnerable to risks associated with natural disasters, accidents and illness. “The review in Indonesia showed that the beneficiaries of credit life insurance payouts were better off than the families of borrowers who left their debt behind uninsured,” Allianz said in the report. “It also showed that when insuring female microloan borrowers, there was greater social impact when their husbands were also insured, especially since men are still the main breadwinners in Indonesia.” In a separate statement, head of Emerging Consumers for Allianz Life Indonesia added: “In Indonesia, the high potential of micro-insurance needs  to be managed in a correct, innovative and efficient way. “Government support for developments in micro-insurance must be balanced with regulations on the field, and  also boost insurance awareness among the Indonesian people.” Business-wise, even though micro-insurance is not as profitable as conventional insurance products, Allianz believes that it is a preliminary step to introducing insurance products to mass market groups. While still “immature,” the business is estimated to have a premium potential of $40 billion a year, Allianz said. Micro-insurance customers have large potential as they can be at some point transferred into conventional insurance in line with the growing middle class. The product can also help expand formal financial services to more customers. Market research conducted in 2013 covering micro-insurance customers on the Ivory Coast, India and Indonesia showed that it was the first insurance for 75 percent of the them. “We anticipate that demand will continue to grow and so we are expanding our business in this area,” Allianz  said. GlobeAsia]]> Jakarta. German insurance company Allianz saw the number of its Indonesian micro-insurance clients surge by nearly half last year  as it expands its reach in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. The Munich-based insurer provides insurance with premiums that start from as low as 1 euro ($1.08) a year for 3.8 million people in Indonesia, up 46 percent from a year earlier, according to the Allianz Group Sustainability Report 2014 published on Friday. Allianz micro-insurance performance in Indonesia trails India, its biggest growth market with 39.8 million people insured, expanding 75 percent in 2014. The two countries constitute almost all of Allianz’s $114 million micro-insurance business globally. The company said that low incomes in developing country are the most vulnerable to risks associated with natural disasters, accidents and illness. “The review in Indonesia showed that the beneficiaries of credit life insurance payouts were better off than the families of borrowers who left their debt behind uninsured,” Allianz said in the report. “It also showed that when insuring female microloan borrowers, there was greater social impact when their husbands were also insured, especially since men are still the main breadwinners in Indonesia.” In a separate statement, head of Emerging Consumers for Allianz Life Indonesia added: “In Indonesia, the high potential of micro-insurance needs  to be managed in a correct, innovative and efficient way. “Government support for developments in micro-insurance must be balanced with regulations on the field, and  also boost insurance awareness among the Indonesian people.” Business-wise, even though micro-insurance is not as profitable as conventional insurance products, Allianz believes that it is a preliminary step to introducing insurance products to mass market groups. While still “immature,” the business is estimated to have a premium potential of $40 billion a year, Allianz said. Micro-insurance customers have large potential as they can be at some point transferred into conventional insurance in line with the growing middle class. The product can also help expand formal financial services to more customers. Market research conducted in 2013 covering micro-insurance customers on the Ivory Coast, India and Indonesia showed that it was the first insurance for 75 percent of the them. “We anticipate that demand will continue to grow and so we are expanding our business in this area,” Allianz  said. GlobeAsia]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396731 Growth of Foreign Debt Slows in February http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396730 Fri, 17 Apr 2015 22:12:38 +0700 Jakarta. Indonesia’s foreign debt grew at a slower pace in February as both the public and private sectors held back from taking on more debt. The country’s total foreign debt rose 9.4 percent to $299 billion in February, according to data from Bank Indonesia on Friday. The growth was slower than the 11 percent pace in January. Public foreign debt rose 4.4 percent to $135 billion in February, slower than the pace of 6.1 percent the previous month. Private companies’ foreign debt also increased by a slower pace, 13.8 percent, to $164.1 billion. That compared to 14.4 percent a month earlier. Most of the debts are due in more than a year’s time, the central bank data showed, easing concern on liquidity pressure for the coming month. The long-term external debt of the public sector reached $131.3 billion, or 98 percent of total public sector external debt. The long-term external debt of the private sector stood at $123.7 billion, or 75 percent of total private external debt. Long-term foreign debt increased 9.8 percent in February, slower than the 11 percent growth in January. Meanwhile, short-term external debt grew 7.2 percent, slower than 8.1 percent the previous month. The private companies’ foreign debts were concentrated in the financial, manufacturing, mining and electricity, gas and water supply sectors. Bank Indonesia called the external debt expansion was “healthy,” but said it would monitor private companies’ foreign debt development. “This is aimed at optimizing the role of external debt in supporting development financing without incurring risks that may affect macroeconomic stability,” the central bank said. Bank Indonesia has encouraged firms to hedge their foreign exchange liabilities to shield themselves from rupiah volatility. The local currency has fallen 3.4 percent against the US dollar this year, as the greenback gains strength on anticipation of a rate hike by the US Federal Reserve later this year. Several state-owned companies such as power utility PLN, Krakatau Steel, and flag carrier Garuda Indonesia have entered into hedging agreement with local banks. Standard & Poor’s said Indonesian companies’ debt expanded 240 percent from 2003 to 2013, in line with the growth in capital expenditure and earnings, suggesting a strong credit profile. The ratings service found Indonesia’s credit profile “seems most balanced” compared to China and India, but it was also the “slowest in growing,” S&P said Friday. GlobeAsia]]> Jakarta. Indonesia’s foreign debt grew at a slower pace in February as both the public and private sectors held back from taking on more debt. The country’s total foreign debt rose 9.4 percent to $299 billion in February, according to data from Bank Indonesia on Friday. The growth was slower than the 11 percent pace in January. Public foreign debt rose 4.4 percent to $135 billion in February, slower than the pace of 6.1 percent the previous month. Private companies’ foreign debt also increased by a slower pace, 13.8 percent, to $164.1 billion. That compared to 14.4 percent a month earlier. Most of the debts are due in more than a year’s time, the central bank data showed, easing concern on liquidity pressure for the coming month. The long-term external debt of the public sector reached $131.3 billion, or 98 percent of total public sector external debt. The long-term external debt of the private sector stood at $123.7 billion, or 75 percent of total private external debt. Long-term foreign debt increased 9.8 percent in February, slower than the 11 percent growth in January. Meanwhile, short-term external debt grew 7.2 percent, slower than 8.1 percent the previous month. The private companies’ foreign debts were concentrated in the financial, manufacturing, mining and electricity, gas and water supply sectors. Bank Indonesia called the external debt expansion was “healthy,” but said it would monitor private companies’ foreign debt development. “This is aimed at optimizing the role of external debt in supporting development financing without incurring risks that may affect macroeconomic stability,” the central bank said. Bank Indonesia has encouraged firms to hedge their foreign exchange liabilities to shield themselves from rupiah volatility. The local currency has fallen 3.4 percent against the US dollar this year, as the greenback gains strength on anticipation of a rate hike by the US Federal Reserve later this year. Several state-owned companies such as power utility PLN, Krakatau Steel, and flag carrier Garuda Indonesia have entered into hedging agreement with local banks. Standard & Poor’s said Indonesian companies’ debt expanded 240 percent from 2003 to 2013, in line with the growth in capital expenditure and earnings, suggesting a strong credit profile. The ratings service found Indonesia’s credit profile “seems most balanced” compared to China and India, but it was also the “slowest in growing,” S&P said Friday. GlobeAsia]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396730 Saratoga to Acquire Express Taxis http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396729 Fri, 17 Apr 2015 22:09:00 +0700 Jakarta. Jakarta-based investment firm Saratoga Investama Sedaya is taking over a 51 percent stake in listed taxi operator Express Transindo Utama from local conglomerate Rajawali Corpora in a deal valued at around Rp 1.26 trillion ($98.2 million). “Saratoga Investama Sedaya and Rajawali Corpora have signed an agreement for Saratoga to acquire around 1.094 billion shares of Express Transindo Utama from Rajawali Corpora,” Andi Esfandiari, a director at Saratoga, said in a listing submitted to the stock exchange in Jakarta on Friday. Saratoga’s president director, Sandiaga Uno, previously said that the investment firm, whose portfolio is largely dominated by infrastructure, was setting aside up to $150 million for investments this year as it eyed more consumer goods companies. The announcement marks the second acquisition move for a taxi operator this month, after toll road operator Citra Marga Nusaphala Persada said it would gain a controlling stake of Cipaganti Citra Graha for $153 million. Andi did not disclose the value or conditions of the Express acquisition, noting that both companies were still in the negotiation process. Express shares, which trade on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) simply as TAXI, shot up 8.5 percent to Rp 1,155, which would value the takeover at Rp 1.26 trillion. Representatives from Saratoga, Rajawali and Express did not confirm the value of the deal as of the time of writing. Friday’s stock surge puts Express shares up 12 percent over the past two weeks, although the stock is down 1.3 percent for the year. Express has a market capitalization of nearly Rp 2.5 trillion. Express is Indonesia’s second-biggest taxi operators, with a fleet of more than 10,000 cabs and more than 18,000 drivers nationwide. The company also offers other transportation services, including bus rentals and limousine services. Blue Bird Group is the country’s biggest taxi operator and is also listed on the IDX. Express reported an 11 percent decline in its first-quarter profit, to Rp 118 billion, from Rp 133 billion in the same period last year, due to a growing expenses. Although revenue climbed by 29 percent to approximately Rp 890 billion, direct costs and general costs rose by 30 percent and 31 percent to Rp 492 billion and Rp 115 billion respectively. Once the acquisition is finalized, Express will join a diverse range of companies under Saratoga, including listed coal miner Adaro Energy and cellular tower operator Tower Bersama. GlobeAsia]]> Jakarta. Jakarta-based investment firm Saratoga Investama Sedaya is taking over a 51 percent stake in listed taxi operator Express Transindo Utama from local conglomerate Rajawali Corpora in a deal valued at around Rp 1.26 trillion ($98.2 million). “Saratoga Investama Sedaya and Rajawali Corpora have signed an agreement for Saratoga to acquire around 1.094 billion shares of Express Transindo Utama from Rajawali Corpora,” Andi Esfandiari, a director at Saratoga, said in a listing submitted to the stock exchange in Jakarta on Friday. Saratoga’s president director, Sandiaga Uno, previously said that the investment firm, whose portfolio is largely dominated by infrastructure, was setting aside up to $150 million for investments this year as it eyed more consumer goods companies. The announcement marks the second acquisition move for a taxi operator this month, after toll road operator Citra Marga Nusaphala Persada said it would gain a controlling stake of Cipaganti Citra Graha for $153 million. Andi did not disclose the value or conditions of the Express acquisition, noting that both companies were still in the negotiation process. Express shares, which trade on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) simply as TAXI, shot up 8.5 percent to Rp 1,155, which would value the takeover at Rp 1.26 trillion. Representatives from Saratoga, Rajawali and Express did not confirm the value of the deal as of the time of writing. Friday’s stock surge puts Express shares up 12 percent over the past two weeks, although the stock is down 1.3 percent for the year. Express has a market capitalization of nearly Rp 2.5 trillion. Express is Indonesia’s second-biggest taxi operators, with a fleet of more than 10,000 cabs and more than 18,000 drivers nationwide. The company also offers other transportation services, including bus rentals and limousine services. Blue Bird Group is the country’s biggest taxi operator and is also listed on the IDX. Express reported an 11 percent decline in its first-quarter profit, to Rp 118 billion, from Rp 133 billion in the same period last year, due to a growing expenses. Although revenue climbed by 29 percent to approximately Rp 890 billion, direct costs and general costs rose by 30 percent and 31 percent to Rp 492 billion and Rp 115 billion respectively. Once the acquisition is finalized, Express will join a diverse range of companies under Saratoga, including listed coal miner Adaro Energy and cellular tower operator Tower Bersama. GlobeAsia]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396729 Nokia CEO: We’ll Protect French Jobs http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396721 Fri, 17 Apr 2015 19:09:20 +0700 The flagship store of Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia is pictured in Helsinki on Sept. 7, 2012. (Reuters Photo) The flagship store of Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia is pictured in Helsinki on Sept. 7, 2012. (Reuters Photo)[/caption]   Helsinki. Finland’s Nokia on Friday defended its commitment to protect jobs in France following its planned takeover of Alcatel-Lucent, and suggested future job cuts could focus on countries other than the two home bases. Nokia has pledged not to cut French jobs for two years after the closure of the deal, beyond what Alcatel had already planned. “When you do deals with France involved, you want to make sure that the government endorses your deal, understands the strategic rationale,” chief executive Rajeev Suri told a news conference. “There is nothing extraordinary in the commitment to France ... It actually makes total business sense.” Suri added the takeover would eventually lead to job cuts. He declined to elaborate on the impact on different countries but praised Nokia’s Finnish R&D operations. Nokia chairman Risto Siilasmaa added the combined company must be competitive in every country where it operates. “Taking the global scope into account, there are proportionately speaking not that many people in the home countries.” Nokia has about 6,900 employees in Finland and Alcatel around 6,000 in France, compared with the companies’ total combined global headcount of 114,000. Reuters]]> The flagship store of Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia is pictured in Helsinki on Sept. 7, 2012. (Reuters Photo) The flagship store of Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia is pictured in Helsinki on Sept. 7, 2012. (Reuters Photo)[/caption]   Helsinki. Finland’s Nokia on Friday defended its commitment to protect jobs in France following its planned takeover of Alcatel-Lucent, and suggested future job cuts could focus on countries other than the two home bases. Nokia has pledged not to cut French jobs for two years after the closure of the deal, beyond what Alcatel had already planned. “When you do deals with France involved, you want to make sure that the government endorses your deal, understands the strategic rationale,” chief executive Rajeev Suri told a news conference. “There is nothing extraordinary in the commitment to France ... It actually makes total business sense.” Suri added the takeover would eventually lead to job cuts. He declined to elaborate on the impact on different countries but praised Nokia’s Finnish R&D operations. Nokia chairman Risto Siilasmaa added the combined company must be competitive in every country where it operates. “Taking the global scope into account, there are proportionately speaking not that many people in the home countries.” Nokia has about 6,900 employees in Finland and Alcatel around 6,000 in France, compared with the companies’ total combined global headcount of 114,000. Reuters]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396721 China Suspends Controversial Bank Rules http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396709 Fri, 17 Apr 2015 19:00:21 +0700 Pedestrians walk past a China Merchants Bank Co. branch in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China, on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. China Merchants Bank is scheduled to release full year earnings on March 28. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg Pedestrians walk past a China Merchants Bank Co. branch in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China, on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. (Bloomberg Photo/Brent Lewin)[/caption] Beijing. China’s bank regulator temporarily suspended this week new financial industry cybersecurity rules after feedback from banks, showing the practical challenges of the nation’s long-term effort to cut dependence on entrenched foreign technology. In a notice issued on Monday and reviewed by Reuters, Chinese regulators said the decision on the rules, which would have effectively replaced foreign tech products with domestic alternatives, came after “financial institutions in the banking industry and related parties put forward opinions for improvements and proposed changes.” Although US technology firms, business lobbies and the White House have been the most vocal critics of the new rules, analysts say key opposition also likely came from within Chinese banks themselves, which like their peers around the world run critical operations on industry-standard products, from IBM servers to Oracle databases. “The banks themselves have a limited acceptance of domestic IT products,” said Forrester analyst Gene Cao. “The banks want to avoid failures. For the banks, if there was a failure because of domestic equipment, the responsibility would be on them, not necessarily the CBRC.” The notice from the China Banking Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said the rules will be re-issued after they are amended but did not say how long the process would take. The regulatory commission and the ministry declined to provide immediate comment on Friday. China has recently advanced a wave of new policies to tighten cybersecurity roughly 18 months after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed that US spy agencies planted code in American tech exports to snoop on overseas targets. The Chinese policies, most clearly articulated in the bank-technology rules and a proposed counter-terrorism law, call for greater use of “secure and controllable” technology products that are developed in China or have released their source code to Chinese inspectors. Foreign business groups and governments argue the rules are unfair and motivated by protectionism and would hamper Chinese business operations. The United States said on Friday it welcomed the decision: “We understand China has issued an official notice to its banking sector, suspending banking measures that impose serious restrictions on foreign firms. Premier Li, in my meeting with him on Monday, conveyed this decision to me personally. We welcome this suspension,” US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said in e-mailed comments to Reuters. Anticipating the official announcement of the bank rules last December, technology departments at China’s large banks have been testing running Chinese equipment since early last year, mostly with non-critical operations, according to people with knowledge of the matter. “I think the government concern is reasonable, but it’s technically impossible to comply with such rules,” said a banker at a foreign bank in China who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. Analysts say there is little doubt that Chinese leaders are committed to weaning the country off foreign technology and developing domestic contenders as a long-term ambition. Reuters]]> Pedestrians walk past a China Merchants Bank Co. branch in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China, on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. China Merchants Bank is scheduled to release full year earnings on March 28. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg Pedestrians walk past a China Merchants Bank Co. branch in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China, on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. (Bloomberg Photo/Brent Lewin)[/caption] Beijing. China’s bank regulator temporarily suspended this week new financial industry cybersecurity rules after feedback from banks, showing the practical challenges of the nation’s long-term effort to cut dependence on entrenched foreign technology. In a notice issued on Monday and reviewed by Reuters, Chinese regulators said the decision on the rules, which would have effectively replaced foreign tech products with domestic alternatives, came after “financial institutions in the banking industry and related parties put forward opinions for improvements and proposed changes.” Although US technology firms, business lobbies and the White House have been the most vocal critics of the new rules, analysts say key opposition also likely came from within Chinese banks themselves, which like their peers around the world run critical operations on industry-standard products, from IBM servers to Oracle databases. “The banks themselves have a limited acceptance of domestic IT products,” said Forrester analyst Gene Cao. “The banks want to avoid failures. For the banks, if there was a failure because of domestic equipment, the responsibility would be on them, not necessarily the CBRC.” The notice from the China Banking Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said the rules will be re-issued after they are amended but did not say how long the process would take. The regulatory commission and the ministry declined to provide immediate comment on Friday. China has recently advanced a wave of new policies to tighten cybersecurity roughly 18 months after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed that US spy agencies planted code in American tech exports to snoop on overseas targets. The Chinese policies, most clearly articulated in the bank-technology rules and a proposed counter-terrorism law, call for greater use of “secure and controllable” technology products that are developed in China or have released their source code to Chinese inspectors. Foreign business groups and governments argue the rules are unfair and motivated by protectionism and would hamper Chinese business operations. The United States said on Friday it welcomed the decision: “We understand China has issued an official notice to its banking sector, suspending banking measures that impose serious restrictions on foreign firms. Premier Li, in my meeting with him on Monday, conveyed this decision to me personally. We welcome this suspension,” US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said in e-mailed comments to Reuters. Anticipating the official announcement of the bank rules last December, technology departments at China’s large banks have been testing running Chinese equipment since early last year, mostly with non-critical operations, according to people with knowledge of the matter. “I think the government concern is reasonable, but it’s technically impossible to comply with such rules,” said a banker at a foreign bank in China who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. Analysts say there is little doubt that Chinese leaders are committed to weaning the country off foreign technology and developing domestic contenders as a long-term ambition. Reuters]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396709 Three Bank Indonesia Executives Vie for Halim Alamsyah's Job as Deputy http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396662 Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:52:36 +0700 Jakarta. President Joko Widodo has proposed three candidates to the House of Representative to fill a Bank Indonesia deputy governor position that will be vacant after Halim Alamsyah finishes his tenure in June, according to a statement from the central bank on Friday. The internal Bank Indonesia candidates are Dody Budi Waluyo, who currently serves as executive director of the strategic and governance management department; Erwin Rijanto, the current executive director of finance system surveillance; and Hendy Sulistiowati, the current executive director of the statistics department. The House will conduct fit-and-proper tests on the candidates on Monday. GlobeAsia]]> Jakarta. President Joko Widodo has proposed three candidates to the House of Representative to fill a Bank Indonesia deputy governor position that will be vacant after Halim Alamsyah finishes his tenure in June, according to a statement from the central bank on Friday. The internal Bank Indonesia candidates are Dody Budi Waluyo, who currently serves as executive director of the strategic and governance management department; Erwin Rijanto, the current executive director of finance system surveillance; and Hendy Sulistiowati, the current executive director of the statistics department. The House will conduct fit-and-proper tests on the candidates on Monday. GlobeAsia]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396662 US Companies Use More of Their Bank Credit Lines http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396706 Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:34:46 +0700 People walk inside JP Morgan headquarters in New York. (Reuters Photo/Eduardo Munoz) People walk inside JP Morgan headquarters in New York. (Reuters Photo/Eduardo Munoz)[/caption] New York. US banks are reporting that companies are tapping more of their credit lines to fund hiring and expand their businesses, a promising sign for the economy. Commercial borrowers are using two or three percentage points more of their credit lines than they were a year ago, reaching levels not seen since before the financial crisis was at its height in 2009, senior officials at a number of major banks said in interviews and on conference calls this week. Companies are using the funds for a variety of things, from boosting manufacturing capacity to investing in new businesses and building inventory as customer demand increases. “Confidence is back,” said Laura Oberst, an executive vice president at Wells Fargo, who oversees commercial banking for the central US region. “It’s fragile still, but stronger than I’ve seen it since the meltdown of 2008.” A Wells Fargo spokeswoman could not immediately provide a bank-wide utilization rate for commercial and industrial borrowers, but said it has gone up a few percentage points over the past year. Bank of America chief financial officer Bruce Thompson said commercial and industrial borrowers were using “in the high 30s” percent of their credit lines last quarter, the highest in six years and up from “the very low 30s” during the recession. The increased usage represented about $1 billion worth of loan growth over the past year in Bank of America’s commercial lending business, Thompson told reporters on a conference call on Wednesday. While companies in distress — such as energy companies hit by the plunging oil price — often use lines of credit for emergency funding, that was not where most of the demand for Bank of America funds was coming from, Thompson said. At JPMorgan Chase the largest US bank, corporate borrowers were using 34 percent of credit the bank extended to them last quarter, up 2.8 percentage points from a year earlier and 4 percentage points higher than in all of 2013. Chief financial officer Marianne Lake said it was the highest utilization rate since 2009. Even banks that have not seen customers using more of their credit lines, such as USBancorp, are seeing some encouraging signs. Companies have asked the Minneapolis-based regional bank to increase their lines of credit, and USBancorp’s outstanding commitments for loans have grown by 12 percent over the last year, CFO Kathy Rogers told Reuters in an interview. That increase usually points to rising confidence that they will need more funds, she added. Overall US economic growth, and corporate spending growth, has been patchy since the 2007-2009 financial crisis. In 2014, for example, expenditure on equipment grew over the whole year by 6.4 percent, according to gross domestic product data. But on a quarterly basis, annualized and adjusted for seasonal differences, changes in expenditure swung wildly — ranged from a contraction of 1 percent to growth of 11.2 percent. For banks, any increased demand for the credit lines, also known as “revolvers,” is a positive. Lenders charge companies relatively low fees on unused lines. Reuters]]> People walk inside JP Morgan headquarters in New York. (Reuters Photo/Eduardo Munoz) People walk inside JP Morgan headquarters in New York. (Reuters Photo/Eduardo Munoz)[/caption] New York. US banks are reporting that companies are tapping more of their credit lines to fund hiring and expand their businesses, a promising sign for the economy. Commercial borrowers are using two or three percentage points more of their credit lines than they were a year ago, reaching levels not seen since before the financial crisis was at its height in 2009, senior officials at a number of major banks said in interviews and on conference calls this week. Companies are using the funds for a variety of things, from boosting manufacturing capacity to investing in new businesses and building inventory as customer demand increases. “Confidence is back,” said Laura Oberst, an executive vice president at Wells Fargo, who oversees commercial banking for the central US region. “It’s fragile still, but stronger than I’ve seen it since the meltdown of 2008.” A Wells Fargo spokeswoman could not immediately provide a bank-wide utilization rate for commercial and industrial borrowers, but said it has gone up a few percentage points over the past year. Bank of America chief financial officer Bruce Thompson said commercial and industrial borrowers were using “in the high 30s” percent of their credit lines last quarter, the highest in six years and up from “the very low 30s” during the recession. The increased usage represented about $1 billion worth of loan growth over the past year in Bank of America’s commercial lending business, Thompson told reporters on a conference call on Wednesday. While companies in distress — such as energy companies hit by the plunging oil price — often use lines of credit for emergency funding, that was not where most of the demand for Bank of America funds was coming from, Thompson said. At JPMorgan Chase the largest US bank, corporate borrowers were using 34 percent of credit the bank extended to them last quarter, up 2.8 percentage points from a year earlier and 4 percentage points higher than in all of 2013. Chief financial officer Marianne Lake said it was the highest utilization rate since 2009. Even banks that have not seen customers using more of their credit lines, such as USBancorp, are seeing some encouraging signs. Companies have asked the Minneapolis-based regional bank to increase their lines of credit, and USBancorp’s outstanding commitments for loans have grown by 12 percent over the last year, CFO Kathy Rogers told Reuters in an interview. That increase usually points to rising confidence that they will need more funds, she added. Overall US economic growth, and corporate spending growth, has been patchy since the 2007-2009 financial crisis. In 2014, for example, expenditure on equipment grew over the whole year by 6.4 percent, according to gross domestic product data. But on a quarterly basis, annualized and adjusted for seasonal differences, changes in expenditure swung wildly — ranged from a contraction of 1 percent to growth of 11.2 percent. For banks, any increased demand for the credit lines, also known as “revolvers,” is a positive. Lenders charge companies relatively low fees on unused lines. Reuters]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396706 Oz Energy Firm to Shut All Coal Plants http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396698 Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:20:35 +0700 A bucket wheel reclaimer operates at the Newcastle Coal Terminal in Newcastle, north of Sydney, Australia, on Friday, May. 3, 2013.  (Bloomberg Photo/Ian Waldie) A bucket wheel reclaimer operates at the Newcastle Coal Terminal in Newcastle, north of Sydney, Australia, on Friday, May. 3, 2013. (Bloomberg Photo/Ian Waldie)[/caption] Sydney. AGL Energy, Australia’s number two power retailer and its biggest carbon polluter, said on Friday it would not buy any more coal-fired power stations and would close all its existing coal-fired power plants by 2050. The company, which became Australia’s biggest owner of coal-fired power stations when it bought two plants from New South Wales state for A$1.5 billion ($1.17 billion) in 2014, announced the apparent about-face in a new “greenhouse gas policy”. Although the shutdowns may be far in the future, the AGL policy introduces a domestic element to a slowdown already confronting the Australian coal industry as exports to China drop and that country shifts towards cleaner energy options. It also suggests that AGL, which has campaigned in the past to lower a national renewable energy target, wants to show it can contribute to greenhouse gas reduction without the need for government regulation. The conservative government and center-left opposition have been deadlocked since last year on whether to lower the renewable energy target, while AGL has suggested the target be rethought completely. Coal delivers nearly two-thirds of Australia’s energy and AGL has stakes in three of the country’s biggest coal-fired power stations. It sells energy to nearly 4 million people, a sixth of the population. AGL’s recently appointed chief executive officer, Andy Vesey, said the company’s move out of coal-fired power would be “an ongoing, progressive process, managing the efficient operations of our assets, and the transition of our people into new generation technologies and careers”. “It is important that government policy incentivises investment in lower-emitting technology while at the same time ensuring that older, less efficient and reliable power stations are removed from Australia’s energy mix,” he said in a statement. However, the move won only grudging praise from environmentalists. “It’s good that they’re finally listening to the nine out of 10 Australians who want more renewable energy but it’s a shame that they’re going to keep pumping carbon into the atmosphere until 2050, when most of their dirty power plants would have been shut anyway,” said James Grugeon, director of market impacts at GetUp!, an activist group. “It’s a step forward after several steps backwards.” Nick Brass, director at Energy Matters, a solar power firm owned by Sunedison, said the policy was well-meaning but added: “Coal power by 2050 is not going to be an economic issue, let alone a climate issue. They’re taking the opportunity to get a nice bit of PR from a fact.” Reuters]]> A bucket wheel reclaimer operates at the Newcastle Coal Terminal in Newcastle, north of Sydney, Australia, on Friday, May. 3, 2013.  (Bloomberg Photo/Ian Waldie) A bucket wheel reclaimer operates at the Newcastle Coal Terminal in Newcastle, north of Sydney, Australia, on Friday, May. 3, 2013. (Bloomberg Photo/Ian Waldie)[/caption] Sydney. AGL Energy, Australia’s number two power retailer and its biggest carbon polluter, said on Friday it would not buy any more coal-fired power stations and would close all its existing coal-fired power plants by 2050. The company, which became Australia’s biggest owner of coal-fired power stations when it bought two plants from New South Wales state for A$1.5 billion ($1.17 billion) in 2014, announced the apparent about-face in a new “greenhouse gas policy”. Although the shutdowns may be far in the future, the AGL policy introduces a domestic element to a slowdown already confronting the Australian coal industry as exports to China drop and that country shifts towards cleaner energy options. It also suggests that AGL, which has campaigned in the past to lower a national renewable energy target, wants to show it can contribute to greenhouse gas reduction without the need for government regulation. The conservative government and center-left opposition have been deadlocked since last year on whether to lower the renewable energy target, while AGL has suggested the target be rethought completely. Coal delivers nearly two-thirds of Australia’s energy and AGL has stakes in three of the country’s biggest coal-fired power stations. It sells energy to nearly 4 million people, a sixth of the population. AGL’s recently appointed chief executive officer, Andy Vesey, said the company’s move out of coal-fired power would be “an ongoing, progressive process, managing the efficient operations of our assets, and the transition of our people into new generation technologies and careers”. “It is important that government policy incentivises investment in lower-emitting technology while at the same time ensuring that older, less efficient and reliable power stations are removed from Australia’s energy mix,” he said in a statement. However, the move won only grudging praise from environmentalists. “It’s good that they’re finally listening to the nine out of 10 Australians who want more renewable energy but it’s a shame that they’re going to keep pumping carbon into the atmosphere until 2050, when most of their dirty power plants would have been shut anyway,” said James Grugeon, director of market impacts at GetUp!, an activist group. “It’s a step forward after several steps backwards.” Nick Brass, director at Energy Matters, a solar power firm owned by Sunedison, said the policy was well-meaning but added: “Coal power by 2050 is not going to be an economic issue, let alone a climate issue. They’re taking the opportunity to get a nice bit of PR from a fact.” Reuters]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396698 Bond Trading Hit by Bloomberg Outage http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396699 Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:55:26 +0700 London. Britain postponed a sale of Treasury bills and global bond trading was hit by a power outage at news and market price provider Bloomberg on Friday, with trading volume in German government bond futures contracts tumbling by around a third. Social media first reported the Bloomberg systems going down at around 07:20 GMT and the screens were blank for most of the following two hours, market participants said. Telephone calls and emails to Bloomberg for comment went unanswered. At around 10:00 GMT, Bloomberg LP tweeted: "We are currently restoring service to those customers who were affected by today's network issue and are investigating the cause." Bloomberg News competes with Thomson Reuters and News Corp's Dow Jones Newswires in providing financial news and information. Britain's Debt Management Office had planned a regular sale of 3 billion pounds of treasury bills. It said it would make a further announcement at 1200 BST (1100 GMT), and that any bids already submitted would be deemed null and void. This is believed to be the first time the DMO has postponed a tender under such circumstances. When asked about the cause of the postponement, a DMO spokesman referred to reports of an outage of Bloomberg trading terminals. The impact of the outage was felt across fixed income markets. Traders cited a fall in German Bund future volumes reflecting an overall reduction in bond trading, while some said corporate debt sales had been put on hold. "It has created a lot of disruption, because there's lack of visibility," ADM Investor Services strategist Marc Ostwald said. "While Friday is not generally been a huge day for corporate issuance, everything's been put on hold because of it." Trading in German Bund futures between 0700 and 0900 GMT was down by around a third compared with the same period in the last few Friday trading sessions. In that two-hour period, 62,845 lots of Bund futures were traded, according to Eurex data. That compares with 96,301 contracts a week ago, 89,048 on March 27 and 88,476 on March 20. "The length of time makes it notable and it is also very widespread. I don't recall something like this before, and other times when I have had an issue with one of the systems it wasn't for everyone," said one euro zone government bond trader. Reuters]]> London. Britain postponed a sale of Treasury bills and global bond trading was hit by a power outage at news and market price provider Bloomberg on Friday, with trading volume in German government bond futures contracts tumbling by around a third. Social media first reported the Bloomberg systems going down at around 07:20 GMT and the screens were blank for most of the following two hours, market participants said. Telephone calls and emails to Bloomberg for comment went unanswered. At around 10:00 GMT, Bloomberg LP tweeted: "We are currently restoring service to those customers who were affected by today's network issue and are investigating the cause." Bloomberg News competes with Thomson Reuters and News Corp's Dow Jones Newswires in providing financial news and information. Britain's Debt Management Office had planned a regular sale of 3 billion pounds of treasury bills. It said it would make a further announcement at 1200 BST (1100 GMT), and that any bids already submitted would be deemed null and void. This is believed to be the first time the DMO has postponed a tender under such circumstances. When asked about the cause of the postponement, a DMO spokesman referred to reports of an outage of Bloomberg trading terminals. The impact of the outage was felt across fixed income markets. Traders cited a fall in German Bund future volumes reflecting an overall reduction in bond trading, while some said corporate debt sales had been put on hold. "It has created a lot of disruption, because there's lack of visibility," ADM Investor Services strategist Marc Ostwald said. "While Friday is not generally been a huge day for corporate issuance, everything's been put on hold because of it." Trading in German Bund futures between 0700 and 0900 GMT was down by around a third compared with the same period in the last few Friday trading sessions. In that two-hour period, 62,845 lots of Bund futures were traded, according to Eurex data. That compares with 96,301 contracts a week ago, 89,048 on March 27 and 88,476 on March 20. "The length of time makes it notable and it is also very widespread. I don't recall something like this before, and other times when I have had an issue with one of the systems it wasn't for everyone," said one euro zone government bond trader. Reuters]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396699 As Drought Eases, Australia Beef Exports to Fall on Lower Slaughter Rate http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396695 Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:41:21 +0700 Australian cows are loaded onto a truck after arriving at the Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta in this May 31, 2011 file photo. (Reuters photo/Supri) Australian cows are loaded onto a truck after arriving at the Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta in this May 31, 2011 file photo. (Reuters Photo/Supri)[/caption] Sydney. Exports of Australian beef are likely to fall faster than previously expected as slaughter rates drop off as a two-year drought eases, threatening to add fuel to a rally in US beef prices. A record slaughter rate has dropped nearly a fifth in the last two weeks, as farmers start to rebuild a herd that has fallen to the smallest in 17 years. Farmers typically send more cattle to slaughter in drought conditions given a lack of pasture and to cut feed costs. A drop in slaughter rates will mean lower exports from the world’s third-largest beef seller and risks boosting US beef prices that have jumped nearly a fifth since January 2014. US prices soared after drought in California wilted pasture, cutting the national herd to a 63-year low in 2014. Australian imports helped fill the gap and while cheaper feed is allowing the US herd to recover, imports are set to stay high. “The liquidation of Australian cattle cannot continue and this will pose a question for the US How much will they be willing to pay for supplies, particularly given the much cheaper alternate protein sources available?” said Matt Costello, an animal proteins analyst at Rabobank. In the first two weeks of April, just shy of 280,000 head of cattle were slaughtered, more than 17 percent lower than the two-week period one-month earlier, data from industry body, Meat and Livestock Australia, showed. Further falls are likely should a favorable forecast from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology materialize. Between April and June, it sees a more than a 60 percent chance of better-than-average rains across key production regions in Queensland, which should replenish pasture and dams. Australian beef exports have had three record years, peaking last season at 1.223 million tons, but the government is predicting exports will fall 5 percent in the 2015/16 season. However, with wetter weather exports could fall more sharply, leaving the United States short of beef. More than a third of Australian beef exports go to the United States, while Japan is also a big buyer, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences. El Nino risk Driven by drought, the Australian herd is expected to fall to 24.2 million head of cattle at the end of June, the lowest in the 17-year records of the country’s commodity forecaster Facing financial pressures, farmers will be forced to balance sales with rebuilding efforts, slowing the recovery. Though in a bid to speed up restocking and improve the quality of cattle some farmers are using In Vitro Fertilisation. Australia has lagged behind market leader Brazil in bovine IVF, but farmers such as Michael Lyons, a cattle rancher in Queensland, are starting to use it more in a bid to improve fertility and breeding. “(IVF) has the potential to make great genetic progress in ours and other herds in Northern Australian,” Lyons said. Rebuilding the herd, however, could face set backs, with an at least 70 percent change of an El Nino arriving as early as June. Should the weather pattern emerge, drier weather could again hit Queensland. Reuters]]> Australian cows are loaded onto a truck after arriving at the Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta in this May 31, 2011 file photo. (Reuters photo/Supri) Australian cows are loaded onto a truck after arriving at the Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta in this May 31, 2011 file photo. (Reuters Photo/Supri)[/caption] Sydney. Exports of Australian beef are likely to fall faster than previously expected as slaughter rates drop off as a two-year drought eases, threatening to add fuel to a rally in US beef prices. A record slaughter rate has dropped nearly a fifth in the last two weeks, as farmers start to rebuild a herd that has fallen to the smallest in 17 years. Farmers typically send more cattle to slaughter in drought conditions given a lack of pasture and to cut feed costs. A drop in slaughter rates will mean lower exports from the world’s third-largest beef seller and risks boosting US beef prices that have jumped nearly a fifth since January 2014. US prices soared after drought in California wilted pasture, cutting the national herd to a 63-year low in 2014. Australian imports helped fill the gap and while cheaper feed is allowing the US herd to recover, imports are set to stay high. “The liquidation of Australian cattle cannot continue and this will pose a question for the US How much will they be willing to pay for supplies, particularly given the much cheaper alternate protein sources available?” said Matt Costello, an animal proteins analyst at Rabobank. In the first two weeks of April, just shy of 280,000 head of cattle were slaughtered, more than 17 percent lower than the two-week period one-month earlier, data from industry body, Meat and Livestock Australia, showed. Further falls are likely should a favorable forecast from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology materialize. Between April and June, it sees a more than a 60 percent chance of better-than-average rains across key production regions in Queensland, which should replenish pasture and dams. Australian beef exports have had three record years, peaking last season at 1.223 million tons, but the government is predicting exports will fall 5 percent in the 2015/16 season. However, with wetter weather exports could fall more sharply, leaving the United States short of beef. More than a third of Australian beef exports go to the United States, while Japan is also a big buyer, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences. El Nino risk Driven by drought, the Australian herd is expected to fall to 24.2 million head of cattle at the end of June, the lowest in the 17-year records of the country’s commodity forecaster Facing financial pressures, farmers will be forced to balance sales with rebuilding efforts, slowing the recovery. Though in a bid to speed up restocking and improve the quality of cattle some farmers are using In Vitro Fertilisation. Australia has lagged behind market leader Brazil in bovine IVF, but farmers such as Michael Lyons, a cattle rancher in Queensland, are starting to use it more in a bid to improve fertility and breeding. “(IVF) has the potential to make great genetic progress in ours and other herds in Northern Australian,” Lyons said. Rebuilding the herd, however, could face set backs, with an at least 70 percent change of an El Nino arriving as early as June. Should the weather pattern emerge, drier weather could again hit Queensland. Reuters]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396695 Japan, US Seek to Seal Free Trade Deal Before Summit http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396687 Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:28:54 +0700 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) shares a light moment with Economic Revitalization Minister Akira Amari (L) and Finance Minister Taro Aso (R) during a cabinet meeting at his official residence in Tokyo on January 14, 2015. Japan approved the largest-ever defence budget for the next fiscal year, as hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe eyes to strengthen the surveillance of territorial waters in face of the growingly aggressive giant neighbour, China.    AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS    JAPAN OUT Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (center) shares a light moment with Economic Revitalization Minister Akira Amari (left) and Finance Minister Taro Aso (right) during a cabinet meeting at his official residence in Tokyo on January 14, 2015. (AFP Photo/Jiji Press Japan Out)[/caption]   Tokyo. Japan sought on Friday to hold bilateral ministerial trade talks with the United States as the allies race to seal a bilateral trade deal, seen as crucial for a broader trans-Pacific free trade pact, ahead of a summit later this month. Economics Minister Akira Amari said formal talks with his US counterpart depended on progress of working-level meetings aimed at narrowing gaps over the agricultural and auto sectors. Amari’s comments followed the submission of a bill to the US Congress that would give President Barack Obama the authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact. Passage of the bill, which Japan sees as crucial for success in the TPP talks, is far from assured. “You can say that we have just cleared one obstacle to TPP negotiations,” Amari said. “Japan is holding working-level talks with the United States today. Depending on how those go, I want to decide today whether or not we can proceed to more formal minister-level talks,” Amari said on Friday, adding that a timeframe for his decision has not been set. The United States and Japan, the biggest and third-biggest economies, account for about 80 percent of the economic output of the 12-member TPP, making them the pacesetters of the multilateral trade talks. The bilateral talks have been stymied by Japan’s efforts to protect politically powerful agriculture sectors such as beef, and disputes over both countries’ auto markets. Washington and Tokyo see strategic value to a broad TPP deal as forming a counterweight to rising China, which has not joined the group. Asked about the TPP, Hong Lei, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said there was momentum in trade liberalization in the Asia-Pacific and that China supported open regionalism. Japanese media said Japan and the United States were aiming for meetings between Amari and US Trade Representative Michael Froman on Sunday and Monday, depending on the outcome of the ongoing talks between US Acting Deputy Trade Representative Wendy Cutler and Japan’s deputy chief trade negotiator, Hiroshi Oe. Neither Japan nor the United States confirmed the reports. “There are still issues to be solved. We will do the utmost so that a parliament resolution (to protect five agricultural products) can be seen to be kept,” said Agriculture Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi. “Ministerial meetings could bring about good results only if working-level negotiations make enough progress.” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is due to meet Obama in Washington on April 28 for a summit that will also focus on security issues. Reuters]]> Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) shares a light moment with Economic Revitalization Minister Akira Amari (L) and Finance Minister Taro Aso (R) during a cabinet meeting at his official residence in Tokyo on January 14, 2015. Japan approved the largest-ever defence budget for the next fiscal year, as hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe eyes to strengthen the surveillance of territorial waters in face of the growingly aggressive giant neighbour, China.    AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS    JAPAN OUT Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (center) shares a light moment with Economic Revitalization Minister Akira Amari (left) and Finance Minister Taro Aso (right) during a cabinet meeting at his official residence in Tokyo on January 14, 2015. (AFP Photo/Jiji Press Japan Out)[/caption]   Tokyo. Japan sought on Friday to hold bilateral ministerial trade talks with the United States as the allies race to seal a bilateral trade deal, seen as crucial for a broader trans-Pacific free trade pact, ahead of a summit later this month. Economics Minister Akira Amari said formal talks with his US counterpart depended on progress of working-level meetings aimed at narrowing gaps over the agricultural and auto sectors. Amari’s comments followed the submission of a bill to the US Congress that would give President Barack Obama the authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact. Passage of the bill, which Japan sees as crucial for success in the TPP talks, is far from assured. “You can say that we have just cleared one obstacle to TPP negotiations,” Amari said. “Japan is holding working-level talks with the United States today. Depending on how those go, I want to decide today whether or not we can proceed to more formal minister-level talks,” Amari said on Friday, adding that a timeframe for his decision has not been set. The United States and Japan, the biggest and third-biggest economies, account for about 80 percent of the economic output of the 12-member TPP, making them the pacesetters of the multilateral trade talks. The bilateral talks have been stymied by Japan’s efforts to protect politically powerful agriculture sectors such as beef, and disputes over both countries’ auto markets. Washington and Tokyo see strategic value to a broad TPP deal as forming a counterweight to rising China, which has not joined the group. Asked about the TPP, Hong Lei, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said there was momentum in trade liberalization in the Asia-Pacific and that China supported open regionalism. Japanese media said Japan and the United States were aiming for meetings between Amari and US Trade Representative Michael Froman on Sunday and Monday, depending on the outcome of the ongoing talks between US Acting Deputy Trade Representative Wendy Cutler and Japan’s deputy chief trade negotiator, Hiroshi Oe. Neither Japan nor the United States confirmed the reports. “There are still issues to be solved. We will do the utmost so that a parliament resolution (to protect five agricultural products) can be seen to be kept,” said Agriculture Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi. “Ministerial meetings could bring about good results only if working-level negotiations make enough progress.” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is due to meet Obama in Washington on April 28 for a summit that will also focus on security issues. Reuters]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396687 Higher Sales Brewing for India’s Tea Exporters as Drought Grips Kenya http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396673 Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:58:44 +0700 Women pick tea leaves in the Makabari Tea Estate in Kurseong, West Bengal in India on Sept. 8, 2014. The poor lack access to quality education. (Bloomberg Photo/Sanjit Das) Women pick tea leaves in the Makabari Tea Estate in Kurseong, West Bengal in India on Sept. 8, 2014. (Bloomberg Photo/Sanjit Das)[/caption] Mumbai. Lagging rains, output and demand were just some of the things worrying Bidyananda Barkakoty, a small tea garden owner in a northeastern Indian state, until about a month ago. A recent dry spell in distant Kenya has since given him a reason to smile. Barkakoty is hoping the crop-damaging drought in top tea exporter Kenya will open a window of opportunity for Indian planters like him as rains improve output prospects at home. Industry sources are projecting a rise of about a tenth in exports this year from India, the world’s No.2 tea producer. “The shortfall in Kenyan production is pushing up prices there and it will start reflecting in the Indian market in coming months,” Barkakoty said. The hope that export revenues will soar as tighter Kenyan supplies boost prices have started filtering down to the share prices of Indian tea firms, such as McLeod Russel, Jay Shree Tea & Industries and Harrisons Malayalam , which have surged 10-14 percent so far this month. McLeod Russel’s chief financial officer, Kamal Baheti, expects India’s overseas tea sales to rise by 15-20 million kg in 2015, as dry weather drags down production in Kenya from a record high of 444.8 million kg in 2014. “We will regain lost quantity this year,” Baheti told Reuters, referring to the 8.2 percent drop in the country’s exports to 201 million kg last year. “This year, since Kenya has been hit by drought, global and local prices will improve.” Sensing tight supply in the East African country where processing factories are receiving fewer deliveries from fields each week, tea prices in local auction centers in India have started climbing, Baheti said. The average tea price in 2015 is likely to be higher than last year, he added. All eyes now on May While the stage is set for higher Indian exports of the beverage, the focus is now on the month of May which should yield more clues on overseas demand, industry sources said. “Export orders are likely to increase from mid-May. By that time there will be more clarity on production in Kenya and India,” said Gopal Poddar, chairman, Limtex India, a producer and exporter based in the city of Kolkata. India ships CTC (crush-tear-curl) tea mainly to Egypt, Pakistan and Britain, and orthodox tea to Iraq, Iran and Russia. Planters had been expecting another year of low output due to dry weather in top producing state Assam in the northeast, but rains in the past two weeks have improved the situation, said an official with the Indian Tea Association. Output from India, where tea plucking gains momentum from June to November, eased 1.3 percent to 1,185 million kg in 2014. “It is difficult to estimate output since peak season hasn’t started yet. But certainly in 2015 production would be higher than last year,” the official said. Reuters]]> Women pick tea leaves in the Makabari Tea Estate in Kurseong, West Bengal in India on Sept. 8, 2014. The poor lack access to quality education. (Bloomberg Photo/Sanjit Das) Women pick tea leaves in the Makabari Tea Estate in Kurseong, West Bengal in India on Sept. 8, 2014. (Bloomberg Photo/Sanjit Das)[/caption] Mumbai. Lagging rains, output and demand were just some of the things worrying Bidyananda Barkakoty, a small tea garden owner in a northeastern Indian state, until about a month ago. A recent dry spell in distant Kenya has since given him a reason to smile. Barkakoty is hoping the crop-damaging drought in top tea exporter Kenya will open a window of opportunity for Indian planters like him as rains improve output prospects at home. Industry sources are projecting a rise of about a tenth in exports this year from India, the world’s No.2 tea producer. “The shortfall in Kenyan production is pushing up prices there and it will start reflecting in the Indian market in coming months,” Barkakoty said. The hope that export revenues will soar as tighter Kenyan supplies boost prices have started filtering down to the share prices of Indian tea firms, such as McLeod Russel, Jay Shree Tea & Industries and Harrisons Malayalam , which have surged 10-14 percent so far this month. McLeod Russel’s chief financial officer, Kamal Baheti, expects India’s overseas tea sales to rise by 15-20 million kg in 2015, as dry weather drags down production in Kenya from a record high of 444.8 million kg in 2014. “We will regain lost quantity this year,” Baheti told Reuters, referring to the 8.2 percent drop in the country’s exports to 201 million kg last year. “This year, since Kenya has been hit by drought, global and local prices will improve.” Sensing tight supply in the East African country where processing factories are receiving fewer deliveries from fields each week, tea prices in local auction centers in India have started climbing, Baheti said. The average tea price in 2015 is likely to be higher than last year, he added. All eyes now on May While the stage is set for higher Indian exports of the beverage, the focus is now on the month of May which should yield more clues on overseas demand, industry sources said. “Export orders are likely to increase from mid-May. By that time there will be more clarity on production in Kenya and India,” said Gopal Poddar, chairman, Limtex India, a producer and exporter based in the city of Kolkata. India ships CTC (crush-tear-curl) tea mainly to Egypt, Pakistan and Britain, and orthodox tea to Iraq, Iran and Russia. Planters had been expecting another year of low output due to dry weather in top producing state Assam in the northeast, but rains in the past two weeks have improved the situation, said an official with the Indian Tea Association. Output from India, where tea plucking gains momentum from June to November, eased 1.3 percent to 1,185 million kg in 2014. “It is difficult to estimate output since peak season hasn’t started yet. But certainly in 2015 production would be higher than last year,” the official said. Reuters]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=396673