Tag Archives: ANALYSTS

ANALYSTS VIEWS – Jakarta hotel bomb blasts

in.reuters.com

ANALYSTS VIEWS – Jakarta hotel bomb blasts

REUTERS – Near-simultaneous bomb blasts ripped through the JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta’s business district on Friday, killing nine people and injuring 42 including foreigners and Indonesians, police said.

A car bomb had also exploded along a toll road in north Jakarta, police said. Indonesia’s Metro TV said two people had been killed. No further details on that blast were available.

The bomb attacks, the first in several years, could severely dent investor confidence in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy. The Indonesian government had made considerable progress in tackling security threats from militant Islamists in recent years, bringing a sense of greater political stability.

Islamist militants from the regional Jemaah Islamiah organisation were blamed for numerous attacks between 2002-2005 in Indonesia, including bombings on the island of Bali in 2002 that killed 202 people. Many militants have since been arrested.

CALLUM HENDERSON, CHIEF GLOBAL CURRENCY STRATEGIST, STANDARD CHARTERED BANK, SINGAPORE

“This is a tragic event. Market reaction to date has been relatively muted in anticipation that the government will stay on course and that policies will remain unchanged.

“Indonesia remains a fundamentally good story, thanks in large part to the excellent policies of the government in the last few years.

“It will take time to stabilise again, but we remain overweight on the rupiah.”

SEAN CALLOW, CURRENCY STRATEGIST, WESTPAC, SYDNEY

“I would say it damages foreign investor confidence since the attacks appear aimed at Westerners, but not shatter it, so long as there is no further violence for some time.

“Bank Indonesia should be able to keep a lid on dollar/rupiah short term, but it will have a lasting negative impact multi-week, multi-month.

“It solidifies my short-term bias towards buying dollar/rupiah on dips, especially since the rupiah is still up 18 percent since March.”

TIM CONDON, HEAD OF ASIA RESEARCH, ING, SINGAPORE

“I liken it to North Korea risks to South Korean assets. Typically it causes a short spike in selling pressure — but the operative word is short.

“Indonesia is vulnerable and the attacks are negative but people know these are impossible to predict and they are part of the economic landscape. It doesn’t totally eclipse all of the other investor positives — the economic fundamentals and the political fundamentals.

“The cost of protecting debt from Indonesia , one of the most frequent Asian sovereign issuers in the offshore market, was unchanged at 280/295 basis points.”

RAYMOND TANG, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, CIMB ASSET MANAGEMENT, KUALA LUMPUR

“We are still positive on the economy and the developments there, despite the bombings. On a long-term perspective, we have not changed our view.

“We’re positive on the banking, the resources and the consumer sectors.

“You’ll get kneejerk reaction but if you look at how the Indonesian market has responded up to now, it’s down 1.3 percent and the currency is down half a percent … I think people are more positive than negative.”

KEVIN O’ROURKE, POLITICAL RISK ANALYST, REFORMASI WEEKLY

“I think the attacks are devastating for the image of security that Indonesia has built up painstakingly over the past four years.

“The attack is particularly severe for investor confidence because it took place despite strenuous counter-terrorist efforts by the government and has affected the hotels that are seen to be among the most secure in Jakarta and also either killed or wounded numerous prominent expatriate businesspeople.” O’Rourke said he suspected Jemaah Islamiah was responsible.

“It’s an explosion in a hotel. Jemaah Islamiah perpetrate explosions in hotels.”

WAWAN PURWANTO, ANALYST AT NGO NATIONAL EMPOWERMENT BOARD, JAKARTA “It is a high-tension period and it is likely to remain like that until October when the president is inaugurated.

“We already predicted this as we have seen some unknown movements after the election, like the incidents in Papua. So if something like this happens, it’s not a surprise.

“We will not make any assumption (as to who is behind the attacks) before seeing hard evidence.”

PRAKRITI SOFAT, ECONOMIST AT HSBC, SINGAPORE

“After the elections going off so peacefully, the bomb blasts have come as a shock. We don’t have all the details now but investors will be keeping a close eye on this one.”

JOANNA TAN, ECONOMIST, FORECAST PTE, SINGAPORE “I think investor confidence will definitely be shaken after this but ultimately, the positives from SBY continuing a second term and relatively good performance in the economy should keep investor confidence supported.”

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China finds $84bn local government debt irregularities

National Audit Office said breaches included “irregular credit guarantees”, “irregular collateral” and “fraudulent and underpayment of registered capital”.

There are growing concerns about the amount of bad loans being held by local governments.Official figures show they held debt of 10.7tn yuan ($1.7tn; £1.1tn) in 2010.

“The State Council is studying proposals to enhance local government debt management and to address fiscal and financial risks,” the audit office said in the report.
‘Again and again’
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote
A lot of the local debt will be absorbed by the central government”
Michael Pettis Peking University

Local governments have been borrowing money from Chinese banks to fund projects aimed at maintaining economic growth.

According to the China Banking Regulatory Commission, local governments took up 80% of total bank lending in China at the end of 2010.

However, analysts said that although the lending had helped to spur investment and boost growth, it was now weighing on local governments.

“Whenever you look at lending that spurs growth miracles, it starts off with an increasing ability to pay the debt,” Professor Michael Pettis of Peking University told the BBC.

“But in every case that ability fades. That is the process that is happening in China,” he explained. “We are going to see stories like this again and again.”
Easing burden?

In October last year, China allowed four local governments to sell bonds for the first time in 17 year. It was hoped the sale would help them pay their loans.

However, the central government put a limit on the amount of bonds the local governments could issue despite the fact that there was a lot of interest among investors.

According to the Xinhua news agency, Shanghai’s bond sale received bids for three times the amount of bonds on offer.

As a result, many of the local governments still have sizeable debts and while the central government may let them raise money, it may also have to take further measures to solve the problem, analysts said.

“A lot of the local debt will be absorbed by the central government,” said Mr Pettis of Peking University.

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Republicans begin 2012 US election

Republicans begin 2012 US election

 

Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum led in preliminary results, but the race remains too close to call with votes held in more than 1,700 caucuses.

Six Republican contenders spent Tuesday making frantic final appeals to voters.

The caucus meetings are the first time voters have a say in the race to face Democratic President Barack Obama in November’s general election.

Tuesday evening’s contest launches months of caucuses and primary elections in 50 states, Washington DC and other territories, culminating in the Republican National Convention in August where the party nominee will be formally anointed.
About 120,000 voters gathered at more than 1,700 fire stations, schools, public buildings and private homes ahead of the official 20:00 EST (01:00 GMT) start to the voting.

An Associated Press poll of voters ahead of the start of the caucus start confirmed that former Massachusetts Governor Romney, Texas Congressman Paul and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum formed the top tier of candidates.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann and Texas Governor Rick Perry are also in the race. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is on the ballot, but did not campaign in Iowa.

Preliminary exit poll results from ABC News indicated independent voters – who are allowed to register as Republicans and participate in the caucuses – had voted heavily in favour of Mr Paul.
Evangelical Christians were split between Mr Santorum and Mr Paul, and the half of caucus-goers describing themselves as “very conservative” were tilting to Mr Santorum.

Also, ABC’s exit poll showed Mr Romney doing well among older voters – a significant chunk of the electorate.
Small town affairs

In the caucuses, voters are allowed to speak on behalf of the candidates they support, followed by a vote, the results of which are transmitted on to the media and to the state Republican party.

Many of the caucuses are tiny affairs held in small towns in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.

In Dawson, fewer than 20 voters gathered at a fire station to hold a caucus amid the fire trucks, reports BBC North America Editor Mark Mardell.

A hall in a school in Des Moines was overflowing with caucus goers, reports the BBC’s Steve Kingstone.

“It’s hard to spot a Bachmann fan, but other candidates all have support here,” he reports.

Iowa is not expected to settle the contest – John McCain, the eventual Republican nominee in 2008, came fourth in the state’s caucuses that year – but it will help shape the race for the White House.

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