Daily Business Briefing – Sept. 18

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Good morning. We offer readers several relevant news items that might help your business decisions today :

PLN, BlackGold, China Huadian To Team Up on Riau Project 

Unit of PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) has made a deal with various parties to form a new consortium to work on the development, construction, operation and maintenance of a coal-fired power plant in Riau province in Sumatra (Riau-1 Project). The heads of agreement was made on Sept 15 with China Huadian Engineering, PT Samantaka Batubara – a subsidiary of BlackGold Natural Resources, PT Pembangkitan Jawa-Bali and PT PLN Batubara, a wholly owned subsidiaries of PLN. The latter would establish a joint venture company which would then enter into the relevant power purchase agreement with PLN and construct and commission the Riau-1 project.

Motorcycle Sales Rise 5.2 percent in August

Motorcycle sales in Indonesia rose in August 2017 over the same period a year earlier, industry association data showed Thursday. Sales for August 2017 reached 554,923 units, up 5.2 percent compared to August of last year, also higher than sales in July 2017, which reached 538,176 units – 76.4 percent over July the previous year, for the largest increase in several years. Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki brands still dominate motorcycle sales in Indonesia

U.S. Retail Sales Fall After Weaker Results in Prior Months

An unexpected decline in August retail sales and downward revisions to the prior two months mainly reflect weaker results at auto dealerships. Retail control group sales rose an annualized 1.1 percent in the three months ending in August, slowing from the 3.9 percent pace from May through July, the report showed. At the same time, an increase in furniture outlet and restaurant purchases indicates demand is being supported by a healthy job market. The Commerce Department said in a special notice that it could not isolate the effects of Hurricane Harvey on its data because it tracks activity on a national scale. The overall response rate was within the range of the past 12 months, though data collection lagged behind in areas affected by Harvey and Irma. (Bloomberg)

Private External Debt Declines

Indonesia’s external debt at the end of July 2017 amounted to US$339.9 billion, or 3.9 percent higher (YoY). Based on groups of borrowers, annual growth of private sector external debt declined, while public sector external debt rose. Private sector external debt amounted to $165.5 billion (48.7 percent of total external debt), or down 1.2 percent (YoY), deeper than the 0.7 percent (YoY) contraction recorded in June 2017. Meanwhile, public sector external debt stood at $174.3 billion (51.3 percent of total external debt) or up 9.2 percent (YoY), higher than the 7.3 percent reported for the previous month.

Soekarno-Hatta Airport Sky Train Officially Operated

Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Sky Train has officially started operation, as of Sunday, Sept. 17. In its first stage, Sky Train will serve passengers or airport visitors moving from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 and vice versa, from 07.00-09.00 WIB, 12.00-14.00 WIB, and 17.00-19.00 WIB. Later the Sky Train will operate 24 hours a day. In the early stages the train passed a 1,700 meter route, with two railcars carrying a maximum of 176 passengers.

House approves macroeconomic assumptions in 2018 state budget

Budget Committee of the House of Representatives has approved the macro economic assumptions in the 2018 state budget, with a slight change in the rupiah exchange rate and the exchange rate for three-month treasury bills. On Thursday, lawmakers agreed to peg the value of the rupiah at Rp13,400 per US dollar from Rp 13,500 earlier, as well as a lower rate for three-month treasury bills at 5.2 percent from 5.3 percent in the previous draft. In addition to these changes, the committee also approved an economic growth projection of 5.4 percent, inflation rate at 3.5 percent, Indonesian crude price at US$48 per barrel as well as oil and gas lifting of 2 million barrels, all unchanged from what was earlier proposed by the government. (CNN Indonesia)

Indonesia-Bangladesh to step up cooperation in energy sector

Indonesia and Bangladesh signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Friday to expand cooperation in the energy sector. The areas of cooperation include the possibility of Indonesia supplying liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the South Asian country. Bangladesh’s Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Nasrul Hamid said the agreement came at the right time, as the country needed a significant amount of LNG in order to support its power sector and feed its domestic industry.