JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Good morning. Presidential challenger Prabowo Subianto has delivered a strong statement that many will see as an attempts to court into his core voters, the Islamist far-right group. He said he will try to ensure a safe return of firebrand cleric Rizieq Shihab who is currently in self-exile in Saudi Arabia after facing some criminal cases here in Indonesia.
Despite living in exile, Shihab is still the leader of Islamic Defenders Front, an organization which often go overboard and commit violent acts to uphold Islamic values. The cleric is facing a criminal case related to Indonesia’s anti-pornographic law.
The opposition camp was quick to deny that Subianto’s statements as an attempt to court voters, but rather an assurance that all Indonesian citizens had the right to live within the country, ignoring one important fact that Shihab’s exile is self-imposed.
He also attempted to improve its appeal for young voters by hosting a gathering with the so-called youtuber, vlogger and blogger. This time, Subianto attacked the government’s economic policy which he described as a neoliberal, another theme that is widely subscribed by his core support groups.
The incumbent, President Joko Widodo, made sure that the opposition’s attack will not go unanswered. Widodo said a lot of politicians are sontoloyo, a Javanese word which its closest English translation is silly or absurd.
Go to the financial market. The market is relatively tranquil on Tuesday (23/10), due to lack of cues and external sentiments. The Jakarta Composite Index was down 0.7 per cent at 5,798 with foreign investors net sold equities worth Rp78 billion.
The Rupiah fell slightly to 15,208 per US$1 from 15,192 per US$1. The biggest development on Tuesday was the outcome of Bank Indonesia’s monthly policy meeting.
As expected, the central bank (BI) kept the reference seven-day reverse repurchase rate steady at 5.75 per cent. However, it is the thing that BI did not mention that causes more speculations.
BI’s officials refused to be specifics on the incoming release of Indonesia’s current account deficit statistics, which some expected may pass the safe threshold of 3 per cent of gross domestic product.
Moving on. The government on Tuesday raised the maximum amount of Rp20 trillion (US$1.38 billion) from bond auction and received bids amounting to Rp47.6 trillion. This is another indication that appetite for the Indonesian government remained robust.
While, Hong Kong-based FWD Group acquired the local insurance unit of Australia’s Commonwealth Bank for $426 million. This is part of ongoing trend of merger and acquisition in Indonesia’s insurance business, which is largely underdeveloped compared to its peers.
Furthermore, state-controlled lender PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia Tbk (IDX:BBRI) will announce its financial performance for the nine month period today, which could provide sentiments on the stock market.
International investors are staying on the sideline in anticipation of the release of US economic growth data for the third quarter. Market consensus expected the US will record a slower economic growth compared to 4.2 per cent in the second quarter.
May you have a profitable day.
Written by TIS Intelligence Team