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June 16, 2011

Fokus Ekonomi Domestik, Rupiah Menguat Terbatas

Oleh: Ahmad Munjin
Pasar Modal – Jumat, 17 Juni 2011 | 18:25 WIB

INILAH.COM, Jakarta – Kurs rupiah di pasar spot valas antar bank Jakarta, Jumat (17/6) ditutup menguat tipis 5 poin (0,05%) ke level 8.578/8.588 per dolar AS dari posisi kemarin 8.583/8.593.

Periset dan analis senior PT Monex Investindo Futures Zulfirman Basir mengatakan, penguatan rupiah hari ini dipicu oleh profit taking atas dolar AS di pasar domestik setelah rupiah melemah tajam pada perdagangan kemarin ke level 8.597 per dolar AS. Menurutnya, investor saat ini, lebih fokus pada fundamental ekonomi Indonesia yang lebih kuat.

Kondisi itu, lanjut Firman, diharapkan bisa melindungi ekonomi domestik dari efek negatif krisis keuangan Yunani dan perlambatan ekonomi global. “Karena itu, sepanjang perdagangan, rupiah mencapai level terkuatnya 8.578 dan terlemahnya 8.605 per dolar AS,” katanya kepada INILAH.COM, di Jakarta, Jumat (17/6).

Lebih jauh dia menjelaskan, ekonomi Indonesia cukup tangguh terhadap gejolak ekonomi eksternal. Kondisi itu, juga memperkuat ekspektasi investment grade yang bisa dicapai 2011 ini. “Fitch, Moody’s dan S&P Rating Service sedang bersiap-siap menaikkan peringkat utang Indonesia ke level investment grade,” tandas Firman.

Itulah yang membuat investor lebih fokus pada sisi domestik Indonesia daripada mencemaskan memburuknya kondisi eksternal seperti Yunani, AS dan China. “Jadi, investor memanfaatkan momentum profit taking atas dolar AS akibat positifnya prospek ekonomi Indonesia,” timpalnya.

Jka melihat eksternal, dolar AS masih menguat seiring memburuknya krisis utang Yunani tapi rupiah ternyata menguat. Alhasil, dolar AS masih menguat terhadap mayoritas mata uang utama termasuk terhadap euro (mata uang gabungan negara-negara Eropa). “Terhadap euro, dolar AS menguat ke level US$1,4189 dari posisi sebelumnya US$1,4210 per euro,” imbuh Firman.

China’s ‘vital’ interests at stake over Greek crisis

Chinese foreign ministry worried about the economic problems of Europe, its biggest trading partner

Reuters
guardian.co.uk, Friday 17 June 2011 07.57 BST

China’s “vital” interests are at stake if Europe cannot resolve its debt crisis, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Friday as it voiced concern about the economic problems of its biggest trading partner.

At a media briefing ahead of Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Europe next week, vice foreign minister Fu Ying made plain that China had tried to help Europe overcome its troubles by buying more European debt and encouraging bilateral trade.

“Whether the European economy can recover and whether some European economies can overcome their hardships and escape crisis, is vitally important for us,” she said.

“China has consistently been quite concerned with the state of the European economy.”

Wen is due to visit Hungary, Britain and Germany late next week, just months after he visited France, Portugal and Spain and offered to help Europe overcome its debt woes.

With Greece on the verge of a debt default, investors will focus on whether China promises to buy even more debt from beleaguered European nations including Greece, and increase its investment in the region.

China is a natural prospective investor in European assets and government debt because it has $3.05 trillion (£1.9tn) in foreign currency reserves, the world’s largest.

With a quarter of the reserves estimated to be invested in euro-denominated assets, it is clearly in Beijing’s interest to help Europe survive its debt turmoil.

“We have supported other countries, especially European countries, in their efforts to surmount the financial crisis,” Fu said. “We have, for example, increased holdings of euro debt and promoted China-European Union trade.”

Beijing has said in the past that it has bought Greek debt, but has never revealed the size of its investment.

Since eurozone debt worries first rippled through markets last year, China has repeatedly said that it has confidence in the single-currency region.

“We have hoped to help eurozone countries in overcoming the crisis, and this is also a measure that is beneficial to China’s own economic development,” Fu said.

But mirroring deteriorating market confidence on Europe, China’s central bank published a report this week saying the economic bloc risked worsening its problems if it did not contain debt levels.

Greek riots make global market blues even bluer
Jun 15, 2011 18:13 EDT

By Agnes T. Crane
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Images of riot police clubbing protesters through a fog of tear gas in Athens rammed home the severity of the Greek crisis to investors globally on Wednesday. With a vacuum of good news in the United States or China, it’s not surprising to see risky assets get hammered. The odd dot-com IPO aside, there’s little to bolster confidence.

The S&P 500 fell 1.7 percent as the euro dove below $1.42 and oil futures knocked $4 off the price of crude. The safe haven of U.S. Treasuries, meanwhile, shaved more than 0.12 percentage point off the yield on 10-year bonds, pushing it back below 3 percent

It wasn’t long ago that investors thought the worst was behind them. The biggest challenge was supposed to be exit strategies. The violence in the Greek capital, perhaps even more than Prime Minister George Papandreou’s offer to step down, reminded investors that concepts like default and austerity don’t always make the world, or markets, more stable.

Investors worry about Greece because a default, if it happens, won’t happen in a vacuum, thanks to its card-carrying euro zone membership. While banks have had ample time to reduce their exposure to all things Greek, default — if it were to happen — is untested in the single currency. In markets, unprecedented events can have unforeseen, and sometimes, very ugly consequences, especially when countries — like banks — are so integrated with their peers. Moody’s Investors Service, in fact, put several French banks on watch for a downgrade, due to their Hellenic exposure.

The sovereign debt crisis, however, isn’t new. But the latest developments come at a time when headlines in the world’s three largest economies have been particularly glum. The United States seems mired in yet another soft patch, China’s red-hot growth engine is sputtering and Japan is trying to emerge from a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

That could mean that sharp moves across global assets, like those that prevailed on Wednesday, are overdone. If the United States were cranking out new jobs, for example, it’s less likely that rioting Greeks would hold so much sway over markets in New York. Put it all together, though, and it’s hard to be too cheery.

JUNE 16, 2011

Why Should the U.S. Bail Out Greece?
Another rescue package will only reward profligate spending and prop up a corrupt government.
By DICK ARMEY AND MATT KIBBE

The one-year anniversary of the Greek bailout passed last month and now European politicians are talking about another emergency package. There’s little doubt that the continent’s taxpayers will once again be put on the hook by the European Union, mostly for bad bets made by German and French banks. That’s their choice. But why are politicians pushing for taxpayers on the other side of the Atlantic to pay, too?

U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged last week to work “both on a bilateral basis but also through international and financial institutions like the IMF” to prevent Greece from failing. The money isn’t free: The U.S. provided $108 billion in global bailout money to the International Monetary Fund, thanks to 2009 supplemental appropriations. And representing 17.7% of the organization’s quotas, the U.S. stands to lose more than the next three donor nations combined.

U.S. taxpayers can’t afford to bail out Greece or any other nation right now. Washington faces a $1.65 trillion deficit, or 11% of GDP. To participate in a bailout, the Obama administration would have to increase taxes on U.S. citizens, borrow money or have the Federal Reserve crank up the printing press to create more dollars. All three of these options make American citizens poorer.

Nor is it clear that these actions would help Greece, or any other financially stretched nation, recover. History suggests the opposite is true. The Fund’s advice to Argentina in the 1990s led that country into a destructive cycle of currency devaluations, capital controls and rampant, destructive inflation. The Fund gave similarly bad advice to Indonesia later that decade. Then the 2008 financial crisis happened and the Fund encouraged reckless behavior by holding out the prospect of a bailout to any nation or large, politically connected bank that fails.

Is it any wonder that Europe’s most indebted nations lined up for the free money? Foreign taxpayers have pledged $145 billion and $130 billion to bailout Greece and Ireland. Portugal and Spain are seeking rescues. President Obama has now committed the U.S. to a second Greek bailout, which could total another $100 billion. The IMF share of that figure will likely be large.

These bailouts only entrench bad behavior. Greece has been living beyond its means for years, with government spending accounting for 46.8% of GDP and its public debt exceeding 115% of GDP. One in three Greeks work for the government, enjoy far higher pay and lavish benefits compared to their private-sector counterparts, and are impossible to fire. Government workers can retire securely after only 35 years of service. This status quo is unsustainable.

If Greece doesn’t face up to its profligate ways, ordinary Greeks will suffer. The country’s big government has spawned an enormously corrupt state that robs the poor of opportunity and enriches the well-connected. The Brookings Institution estimated last year that bribery, patronage and other forms of public corruption lift the equivalent of 8% of GDP from the state’s budget annually, or more than €20 billion. Reining in corruption and plugging even a fraction of that hole would go a long way to enabling Athens to pay its own bills. But if Greece is bailed out again, what incentive do its politicians have to change their ways?

The IMF’s original mission was to support stable exchange rates, not bail out bankrupt states. Our organization, FreedomWorks, has long supported IMF reform. But given its recent behavior, perhaps it’s time to close it down once and for all, before more U.S. taxpayer money is wasted.

Messrs. Armey and Kibbe are, respectively, chairman and president of FreedomWorks. They are co-authors of “Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto” (HarperCollins, 2010).

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