Thu, 22 May 2008
Outgoing chief economic minister Boediono said Friday that he hoped economic growth can "return to the level of 6.5% to 7%" within the next one to three years, Dow Jones reported.

Boediono, who is going to take up the position of Governor of Bank Indonesia, said rate increases by the central bank can help ease currently high inflation, even though much of it is cost-related.

He was commenting on Thursday’s announcement by the Central Statistics Bureau (BPS) that the economy expanded by 2.15% on quarter and 6.28% on year during the first quarter of the year. That marked the sixth consecutive quarter of on-year growth above 6%.

Domestic demand remained robust despite higher prices of food and energy, BPS said, while exports, which grew 5.7% on quarter and 15.0% on year, also helped propel the economy.

Household consumption, which accounts for 57% of GDP, contracted 0.6% on quarter but rose 5.5% from a year earlier. Government spending fell 30.5% on quarter but increased 3.6% from a year earlier.

Investments into the economy shrank 0.6% from the previous quarter, but rose 13.3% on year. The agriculture sector grew 18% on quarter and 6% on year due to a relatively good rice harvest.

The figures signal that Indonesia is currently undergoing "comfortably the longest period of strength since the Asian crisis," HSBC economist Robert Prior-Wandesford told Dow Jones.

The central bank on Tuesday cut its economic growth forecast for this year to 6.2%, the lower end of its initial target, due to a weaker global economy, Thomson Financial reported.

Bank Indonesia was earlier looking at gross domestic product growing between 6.2% and 6.8% this year, compared to the 6.32% clip in 2007.

"Indonesia's economy is expected to continue to grow at a moderate pace this year although it is overshadowed by the slowing global economic growth and persistent increase in international commodity prices," Bank Indonesia said in its quarterly report.

The government earlier cut its GDP growth forecast for this year to 6.4% from 6.8%, also citing the global slowdown as well as rising oil prices.

The central bank said growth will be driven mainly by an increase in private consumption, exports, as well as investment on the back of the expected acceleration in various infrastructure projects.

While a slowdown in the global economy will reduce overseas demand for Indonesian goods, the central bank said the impact should be 'limited by the diversification of the country's export destinations.'



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