The Jakarta Globe RSS: Business http://www.thejakartaglobe.com 2013 The Jakarta Globe Your City, Your World Wed, 17 Sep 2014 07:18:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/images/jakarta-globe.gif http://www.thejakartaglobe.com Boeing, SpaceX Win Contracts to Build ‘Space Taxis’ for NASA http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/?p=324965 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:03:04 +0700 The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo spacecraft is grappled to Canadarm2 at the International Space Station in this NASA picture taken on April 20, 2014. (Reuters Photo/NASA/Handout via Reuters) The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo spacecraft is grappled to Canadarm2 at the International Space Station in this NASA picture taken on April 20, 2014. (Reuters Photo/NASA/Handout via Reuters)[/caption] Cape Canaveral/Washington. NASA will partner with Boeing and SpaceX to build commercially owned and operated “space taxis” to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, ending US dependence on Russia for rides, officials said on Tuesday. The US space agency also considered a bid by privately owned Sierra Nevada but opted to award long-time aerospace contractor Boeing and California’s SpaceX with contracts valued at a combined $6.8 billion to develop, certify and fly their seven-person capsules. Boeing was awarded $4.2 billion to SpaceX’s $2.6 billion. SpaceX is run by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, also the chief executive officer of electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors. “SpaceX is deeply honored by the trust NASA has placed in us,” said Musk, a South Africa-born, Canadian American billionaire. “It is a vital step in a journey that will ultimately take us to the stars and make humanity a multi-planet species.” The awards position Boeing and SpaceX to be ready for commercial flight services in 2017, said Kathy Leuders, manager for NASA’s Commercial Crew program. She said both contracts have the same requirements. “The companies proposed the value within which they were able to do the work and the government accepted that,” Leuders told reporters in a conference call. The contract has taken on new urgency given rising tensions between the United States and Russia over its annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine and support for rebels in eastern Ukraine. Boeing’s CST-100 spaceship would launch aboard Atlas 5 rockets, built by United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. SpaceX, which already has a $1.3 billion NASA contract to fly cargo to the space station, intends to upgrade its Dragon freighter to carry astronauts. NASA has said that in addition to test flights, the awards would include options for between two and six operational missions. By flying astronauts commercially from the United States, NASA could end Russia’s monopoly on space station crew transport. The agency pays $70 million per person for rides on Russian Soyuz capsules, the only flights available for astronauts since the retirement of the US space shuttle fleet in 2011. China, the only other country to fly people in orbit besides the United States and Russia, is not a member of the 15-nation space station partnership. NASA has spent about $1.5 billion since 2010 investing in partner companies under its Commercial Crew program. Boeing and SpaceX have won most of NASA’s development funds. The companies retain ownership of their vehicles and can sell rides to customers outside of NASA, including private tourists. “The work that we have underway is making the possibility for everyone to someday see our planet Earth from space,” said Kennedy Space Center director and former astronaut Bob Cabana. “I know a lot of us are cheering on the success of our Commercial Crew program, not because of what it means to NASA but what it means to human spaceflight for everyone.” The program is based on a public-private partnership that created two cargo lines to the station, a research laboratory that flies about 418 kilometers above Earth. In addition to SpaceX, NASA has a $1.9 billion contract with Orbital Sciences Corp for resupply missions. For Boeing, the win in space is important symbolically, said Christian Mayes, an industrials analyst at Edward Jones in St. Louis, who rates Boeing stock a “hold.” “But financially, people need to come back to Earth,” said Mayes. Boeing’s space and network businesses contribute less than 10 percent of total revenue, and a $4.2 billion contract over multiple years “is not going to move the needle,” he added. Boeing shares closed about 0.8 percent higher. Reuters]]> The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo spacecraft is grappled to Canadarm2 at the International Space Station in this NASA picture taken on April 20, 2014. (Reuters Photo/NASA/Handout via Reuters) The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo spacecraft is grappled to Canadarm2 at the International Space Station in this NASA picture taken on April 20, 2014. (Reuters Photo/NASA/Handout via Reuters)[/caption] Cape Canaveral/Washington. NASA will partner with Boeing and SpaceX to build commercially owned and operated “space taxis” to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, ending US dependence on Russia for rides, officials said on Tuesday. The US space agency also considered a bid by privately owned Sierra Nevada but opted to award long-time aerospace contractor Boeing and California’s SpaceX with contracts valued at a combined $6.8 billion to develop, certify and fly their seven-person capsules. Boeing was awarded $4.2 billion to SpaceX’s $2.6 billion. SpaceX is run by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, also the chief executive officer of electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors. “SpaceX is deeply honored by the trust NASA has placed in us,” said Musk, a South Africa-born, Canadian American billionaire. “It is a vital step in a journey that will ultimately take us to the stars and make humanity a multi-planet species.” The awards position Boeing and SpaceX to be ready for commercial flight services in 2017, said Kathy Leuders, manager for NASA’s Commercial Crew program. She said both contracts have the same requirements. “The companies proposed the value within which they were able to do the work and the government accepted that,” Leuders told reporters in a conference call. The contract has taken on new urgency given rising tensions between the United States and Russia over its annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine and support for rebels in eastern Ukraine. Boeing’s CST-100 spaceship would launch aboard Atlas 5 rockets, built by United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. SpaceX, which already has a $1.3 billion NASA contract to fly cargo to the space station, intends to upgrade its Dragon freighter to carry astronauts. NASA has said that in addition to test flights, the awards would include options for between two and six operational missions. By flying astronauts commercially from the United States, NASA could end Russia’s monopoly on space station crew transport. The agency pays $70 million per person for rides on Russian Soyuz capsules, the only flights available for astronauts since the retirement of the US space shuttle fleet in 2011. China, the only other country to fly people in orbit besides the United States and Russia, is not a member of the 15-nation space station partnership. NASA has spent about $1.5 billion since 2010 investing in partner companies under its Commercial Crew program. Boeing and SpaceX have won most of NASA’s development funds. The companies retain ownership of their vehicles and can sell rides to customers outside of NASA, including private tourists. “The work that we have underway is making the possibility for everyone to someday see our planet Earth from space,” said Kennedy Space Center director and former astronaut Bob Cabana. “I know a lot of us are cheering on the success of our Commercial Crew program, not because of what it means to NASA but what it means to human spaceflight for everyone.” The program is based on a public-private partnership that created two cargo lines to the station, a research laboratory that flies about 418 kilometers above Earth. In addition to SpaceX, NASA has a $1.9 billion contract with Orbital Sciences Corp for resupply missions. For Boeing, the win in space is important symbolically, said Christian Mayes, an industrials analyst at Edward Jones in St. Louis, who rates Boeing stock a “hold.” “But financially, people need to come back to Earth,” said Mayes. Boeing’s space and network businesses contribute less than 10 percent of total revenue, and a $4.2 billion contract over multiple years “is not going to move the needle,” he added. Boeing shares closed about 0.8 percent higher. Reuters]]> http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/?p=324965 Apple's iPhone Comes Out of a 'Bygone Era', Reviewers Hail Bigger Handset http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/?p=324953 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:55:27 +0700 Phil Schiller, senior vice president at Apple, speaks about the iPhone 6 during an Apple event at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California in the US on Sept. 9, 2014. (Reuters Photo/Stephen Lam) Phil Schiller, senior vice president at Apple, speaks about the iPhone 6 during an Apple event at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California in the US on Sept. 9, 2014. (Reuters Photo/Stephen Lam)[/caption] Bigger is better and Apple Inc has finally realized that and given iPhone users a product that may be low on novelty but high on improvements, reviewers wrote. Most reviewers say that the iPhone 6 is the best smartphone available or “ever made”, while the 5.5-inch (14-centimeter) iPhone 6 Plus has been described as a “phablet” that will give competition to Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S line of ‘big’ Android phones. “I think it’s a terrific phone. In my view, it’s the best smartphone on the market, when you combine its hardware, all-new operating system, and the Apple ecosystem whose doors it opens,” Walt Mossberg wrote of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 in the tech blog Re/code. Geoffrey Fowler, who reviewed the phones for the Wall Street Journal, said Apple has “successfully addressed its size deficiency.” Mossberg said the increase in the screen size is a “catch-up” feature. But it is seen as a welcome change by Fowler, who said the iPhone “felt stuck in a bygone era called 2012” before the launch of the bigger phones. New York Times reviewer Molly Wood appreciated the new “thinner, flatter and more rounded shapes” of both the phones. But she pointed out that the sleek look comes at the cost of the phones feeling “slippery”. The improvements made to the operating system - the iOS 8 software, and that to the camera were given a thumbs up by reviewers across the board. However, most believed that Apple could have done more to enhance the battery life of the phones. Joshua Topolski, who reviewed the phones for Bloomberg, said they were faster than their predecessors. “Apple will tell you that these are the fastest mobile devices it’s ever made, and it wouldn’t be lying. These phones scream,” Topolski wrote. The new iPhone 6 goes on sale on Sept. 19 in the United States. Reuters]]> Phil Schiller, senior vice president at Apple, speaks about the iPhone 6 during an Apple event at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California in the US on Sept. 9, 2014. (Reuters Photo/Stephen Lam) Phil Schiller, senior vice president at Apple, speaks about the iPhone 6 during an Apple event at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California in the US on Sept. 9, 2014. (Reuters Photo/Stephen Lam)[/caption] Bigger is better and Apple Inc has finally realized that and given iPhone users a product that may be low on novelty but high on improvements, reviewers wrote. Most reviewers say that the iPhone 6 is the best smartphone available or “ever made”, while the 5.5-inch (14-centimeter) iPhone 6 Plus has been described as a “phablet” that will give competition to Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S line of ‘big’ Android phones. “I think it’s a terrific phone. In my view, it’s the best smartphone on the market, when you combine its hardware, all-new operating system, and the Apple ecosystem whose doors it opens,” Walt Mossberg wrote of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 in the tech blog Re/code. Geoffrey Fowler, who reviewed the phones for the Wall Street Journal, said Apple has “successfully addressed its size deficiency.” Mossberg said the increase in the screen size is a “catch-up” feature. But it is seen as a welcome change by Fowler, who said the iPhone “felt stuck in a bygone era called 2012” before the launch of the bigger phones. New York Times reviewer Molly Wood appreciated the new “thinner, flatter and more rounded shapes” of both the phones. But she pointed out that the sleek look comes at the cost of the phones feeling “slippery”. The improvements made to the operating system - the iOS 8 software, and that to the camera were given a thumbs up by reviewers across the board. However, most believed that Apple could have done more to enhance the battery life of the phones. Joshua Topolski, who reviewed the phones for Bloomberg, said they were faster than their predecessors. “Apple will tell you that these are the fastest mobile devices it’s ever made, and it wouldn’t be lying. These phones scream,” Topolski wrote. The new iPhone 6 goes on sale on Sept. 19 in the United States. Reuters]]> http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/?p=324953 Indonesia’s Loan Growth Continues Slowing Trend in July http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/?p=324872 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:22:22 +0700 Jakarta. Indonesia’s loan growth in July slowed to 15.7 percent on a yearly basis, compared with 17.2 percent in June, the country’s financial services authority, Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK) said on Wednesday. Loan growth has been on a slowing trend since the central bank tightened monetary policy from June to November last year by raising the benchmark interest rate 175 basis points to 7.5 percent. Indonesia’s broad money supply (M2) growth rose 11 percent in July from a year earlier. Reuters]]> Jakarta. Indonesia’s loan growth in July slowed to 15.7 percent on a yearly basis, compared with 17.2 percent in June, the country’s financial services authority, Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK) said on Wednesday. Loan growth has been on a slowing trend since the central bank tightened monetary policy from June to November last year by raising the benchmark interest rate 175 basis points to 7.5 percent. Indonesia’s broad money supply (M2) growth rose 11 percent in July from a year earlier. Reuters]]> http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/?p=324872 China, Singapore Slowdown Weigh on Q3 Asia Business Sentiment, but Positive on Indonesia http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/?p=324855 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 10:54:08 +0700 Vessels anchor in the sea as storm clouds gather over the east coast of Singapore in this August 15, 2014 file photo. (Reuters Photo/Edgar Su) Vessels anchor in the sea as storm clouds gather over the east coast of Singapore in this August 15, 2014 file photo. (Reuters Photo/Edgar Su)[/caption] Singapore. Business sentiment among Asia’s top companies fell sharply in the third quarter, weighed down by worries about China’s slowing economy, a possible end to the US Federal Reserve’s stimulus policy and a decline in the outlook for regional economic hubs like Singapore, a ThomsonReuters/Insead survey showed. The ThomsonReuters/Insead Asia Business Sentiment Index fell to 66 in the third quarter from 74 in the previous quarter, its steepest decline in three years. A reading above 50 indicates an overall positive outlook. Companies in India were the most positive with a maximum score of 100 for the second consecutive quarter after pro-business leader Narendra Modi was elected prime minister. In contrast, Taiwanese businesses were the most negative, with a score of 33. “While growth is still robust across Asia, businesses are grappling with a number of challenges, including worries about rising interest rates as the Fed begins to press the brakes,” said Frederic Neumann, the Hong Kong-based co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC. He also said business conditions in China had become more uncertain amid a softening real estate market. Chinese companies polled were neutral about their prospects, which led China’s score in the third quarter to drop to 50 from 67. China’s economy is expected to grow 7.3 percent this year, its weakest pace in 24 years, a Reuters poll of analysts shows. Singapore also turned in a third-quarter reading of 50, a sharp drop from the previous quarter’s score of 67. The index surveyed 200 of the Asia-Pacific region’s top companies in 11 economies across sectors including financials, property, resources and technology. Companies participating in the survey included Australian construction materials firm James Hardie Industries, Japan’s Fast Retailing and Indian drugmaker Lupin, among others. The poll, conducted by ThomsonReuters in association with Insead, a global management and business school, was compiled from Sept. 1 to 12. It showed global economic worries, rising costs and other risks including currency volatility and regulatory uncertainty were the key business concerns. Of the 120 companies that responded, 64 percent reported a neutral outlook, while 34 percent said they had a positive outlook and 1.67 percent were negative. India bullish, China slips Business sentiment in key Asian economies India and Thailand benefitted from political change. In India, Prime Minister Modi’s election has helped lift the stock market to record highs, while the end of months of political unrest in Thailand and the establishment of a military government has eased businesses concerns. All 15 Indian firms surveyed were positive about their outlook. Thailand was the second-most positive, with a score of 90. “One hundred-plus days into the Modi government and sentiment seem to be improving, albeit gradually,” said Girish Vanvari, co-head of tax at KPMG in India. “We are certainly in for a period of gradual sustainable growth.” Indian drugmaker Lupin also said it was positive about the domestic business environment. “The new government’s affirmative and positive stand on important issues like economic policy, manufacturing reforms and easing of foreign investment norms has reaffirmed confidence in India’s growth story,” said Shamsher Gorawara, director of corporate communications at Mumbai-based Lupin. Politics also helped businesses in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, to achieve an overall positive score of 75 in the third quarter. Indonesians recently elected Joko Widodo, who is believed to be more business friendly than his predecessor, as the next president. Slowing growth in Asia’s largest economy China, however, weakened business sentiment in the third quarter. All companies polled from China were neutral about their outlook and most listed global economic uncertainty as their greatest risk. Apart from China, sentiment in South Korea and Singapore also slipped to neutral from positive in the second quarter. Taiwan was the only country in the region in negative territory with a score of 33. Sentiment in the Philippines, which had posted a maximum score of 100 in the second quarter, dropped sharply to 83 as some companies lowered their bullish views on the outlook and employment levels. Corporate sentiment among Australian companies also fell to 75 from 79 in the second quarter, while Japan edged higher to 59 from 56. Export-driven South Korea maintained its neutral reading of 50, the same as the second quarter. Autos positive, property down By sector, autos, resources, pharmaceuticals and food were the most positive across the region with readings of 75. Sentiment among Asian automakers improved for the third consecutive quarter, while the shipping, building and financials sectors were the least optimistic, each with a neutral reading of 50. The property sector recorded a sharp decline in sentiment, with the sector’s score falling to a more than two-year low of 63 from 79 in the second quarter. Many companies lowered their outlook to neutral as China’s property sector faces a deepening slowdown. “Property is central to the Chinese economy. The softening real estate market primarily impacts construction activity, with businesses directly involved in the sector feeling the biggest pinch,” HSBC’s Neumann said. Asian builders also showed lower optimism with all respondents reporting a neutral outlook, compared with a 75 reading in the second quarter. Reuters]]> Vessels anchor in the sea as storm clouds gather over the east coast of Singapore in this August 15, 2014 file photo. (Reuters Photo/Edgar Su) Vessels anchor in the sea as storm clouds gather over the east coast of Singapore in this August 15, 2014 file photo. (Reuters Photo/Edgar Su)[/caption] Singapore. Business sentiment among Asia’s top companies fell sharply in the third quarter, weighed down by worries about China’s slowing economy, a possible end to the US Federal Reserve’s stimulus policy and a decline in the outlook for regional economic hubs like Singapore, a ThomsonReuters/Insead survey showed. The ThomsonReuters/Insead Asia Business Sentiment Index fell to 66 in the third quarter from 74 in the previous quarter, its steepest decline in three years. A reading above 50 indicates an overall positive outlook. Companies in India were the most positive with a maximum score of 100 for the second consecutive quarter after pro-business leader Narendra Modi was elected prime minister. In contrast, Taiwanese businesses were the most negative, with a score of 33. “While growth is still robust across Asia, businesses are grappling with a number of challenges, including worries about rising interest rates as the Fed begins to press the brakes,” said Frederic Neumann, the Hong Kong-based co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC. He also said business conditions in China had become more uncertain amid a softening real estate market. Chinese companies polled were neutral about their prospects, which led China’s score in the third quarter to drop to 50 from 67. China’s economy is expected to grow 7.3 percent this year, its weakest pace in 24 years, a Reuters poll of analysts shows. Singapore also turned in a third-quarter reading of 50, a sharp drop from the previous quarter’s score of 67. The index surveyed 200 of the Asia-Pacific region’s top companies in 11 economies across sectors including financials, property, resources and technology. Companies participating in the survey included Australian construction materials firm James Hardie Industries, Japan’s Fast Retailing and Indian drugmaker Lupin, among others. The poll, conducted by ThomsonReuters in association with Insead, a global management and business school, was compiled from Sept. 1 to 12. It showed global economic worries, rising costs and other risks including currency volatility and regulatory uncertainty were the key business concerns. Of the 120 companies that responded, 64 percent reported a neutral outlook, while 34 percent said they had a positive outlook and 1.67 percent were negative. India bullish, China slips Business sentiment in key Asian economies India and Thailand benefitted from political change. In India, Prime Minister Modi’s election has helped lift the stock market to record highs, while the end of months of political unrest in Thailand and the establishment of a military government has eased businesses concerns. All 15 Indian firms surveyed were positive about their outlook. Thailand was the second-most positive, with a score of 90. “One hundred-plus days into the Modi government and sentiment seem to be improving, albeit gradually,” said Girish Vanvari, co-head of tax at KPMG in India. “We are certainly in for a period of gradual sustainable growth.” Indian drugmaker Lupin also said it was positive about the domestic business environment. “The new government’s affirmative and positive stand on important issues like economic policy, manufacturing reforms and easing of foreign investment norms has reaffirmed confidence in India’s growth story,” said Shamsher Gorawara, director of corporate communications at Mumbai-based Lupin. Politics also helped businesses in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, to achieve an overall positive score of 75 in the third quarter. Indonesians recently elected Joko Widodo, who is believed to be more business friendly than his predecessor, as the next president. Slowing growth in Asia’s largest economy China, however, weakened business sentiment in the third quarter. All companies polled from China were neutral about their outlook and most listed global economic uncertainty as their greatest risk. Apart from China, sentiment in South Korea and Singapore also slipped to neutral from positive in the second quarter. Taiwan was the only country in the region in negative territory with a score of 33. Sentiment in the Philippines, which had posted a maximum score of 100 in the second quarter, dropped sharply to 83 as some companies lowered their bullish views on the outlook and employment levels. Corporate sentiment among Australian companies also fell to 75 from 79 in the second quarter, while Japan edged higher to 59 from 56. Export-driven South Korea maintained its neutral reading of 50, the same as the second quarter. Autos positive, property down By sector, autos, resources, pharmaceuticals and food were the most positive across the region with readings of 75. Sentiment among Asian automakers improved for the third consecutive quarter, while the shipping, building and financials sectors were the least optimistic, each with a neutral reading of 50. The property sector recorded a sharp decline in sentiment, with the sector’s score falling to a more than two-year low of 63 from 79 in the second quarter. Many companies lowered their outlook to neutral as China’s property sector faces a deepening slowdown. “Property is central to the Chinese economy. The softening real estate market primarily impacts construction activity, with businesses directly involved in the sector feeling the biggest pinch,” HSBC’s Neumann said. Asian builders also showed lower optimism with all respondents reporting a neutral outlook, compared with a 75 reading in the second quarter. Reuters]]> http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/?p=324855 Sydney’s Hot Housing Speculators Spark RBA Alarm at Fallout Risk http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/?p=324833 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:49:55 +0700 Work commences on a new development at the old site of the convention center at Darling Harbour in Sydney on July 12, 2014. (Bloomberg Photo/Jeremy Piper) Work commences on a new development at the old site of the convention center at Darling Harbour in Sydney on July 12, 2014. (Bloomberg Photo/Jeremy Piper)[/caption] A 16 percent jump in Sydney house prices in the past year is sparking alarm at Australia’s central bank. Buyers shouldn’t be overly bullish in property purchases, Reserve Bank of Australia assistant governor Christopher Kent said at a Bloomberg Summit in Sydney on Tuesday. An investor-led surge in prices may amplify any subsequent fall and risk a drop in consumer spending, hurting the economy, the bank said on Tuesday in minutes from its Sept. 2 board meeting. “We’ve been at great pains to always tell people when you’re making investment decisions, make them with great care, don’t assume prices can always and will always go up,” Kent said. “And don’t always assume interest rates will stay low for the length of the loan.” The housing market has been pumped up by the RBA keeping its benchmark interest rate at a record-low 2.5 percent for more than a year, with investors accounting for a record 49 percent of new home loans in July. Demand for high-risk mortgages, including interest-only loans, is setting the stage for a jump in mortgage delinquencies when interest rates rise, Moody’s Investors Service said this month. “This is the first time we have seen the bank show genuine alarm at the recent lift in house prices,” Westpac Banking chief economist Bill Evans said in a research note. Foreign buyers Federal lawmaker Kelly O’Dwyer, who chairs a parliamentary inquiry into foreign investment in housing, told the summit she was concerned that first-time homebuyers are finding it “increasingly very difficult” to get into the market. She also called for stronger policing of rules that restrict foreigners purchasing houses amid concern that Chinese buyers are helping push up prices in Sydney and Melbourne. The Foreign Investment Review Board, or FIRB, which oversees the rules, “has demonstrated that they have not been doing their job,” she said. “In order to give confidence to people you have to have a regime that will be properly enforced,” O’Dwyer said. “FIRB said that we think everybody is complying a little bit better. I think that defies credibility.” Australian house and apartment prices rose 11 percent in August from a year earlier, led by gains of 16 percent in Sydney and 12 percent in Melbourne, according to the RP Data CoreLogic Home Value Index. The nation has the world’s third-most overvalued housing market on a price-to-income basis, after Belgium and Canada, according to the International Monetary Fund. First-time buyers “There’s good reason to be concerned about affordability, it’s pretty tough to get into the Sydney housing market, particularly if you’re a first home buyer,” David Rees, head of Australasian research at Jones Lang LaSalle, said at the summit. The share of home loans to first-time buyers fell in July to a record-low 12.2 percent, Bureau of Statistics data showed. Treasurer Joe Hockey said he is less worried by the rise in home prices, dismissing concern that Sydney’s housing market is in a bubble. “It is just an easy mantra for international commentators and for analysts based overseas to say, ‘well, there’s a bit of a housing bubble emerging in Australia’,” Hockey told on Tuesday’s summit. “That is a rather lazy analysis because fundamentally we don’t have enough supply to meet demand.” Bloomberg]]> Work commences on a new development at the old site of the convention center at Darling Harbour in Sydney on July 12, 2014. (Bloomberg Photo/Jeremy Piper) Work commences on a new development at the old site of the convention center at Darling Harbour in Sydney on July 12, 2014. (Bloomberg Photo/Jeremy Piper)[/caption] A 16 percent jump in Sydney house prices in the past year is sparking alarm at Australia’s central bank. Buyers shouldn’t be overly bullish in property purchases, Reserve Bank of Australia assistant governor Christopher Kent said at a Bloomberg Summit in Sydney on Tuesday. An investor-led surge in prices may amplify any subsequent fall and risk a drop in consumer spending, hurting the economy, the bank said on Tuesday in minutes from its Sept. 2 board meeting. “We’ve been at great pains to always tell people when you’re making investment decisions, make them with great care, don’t assume prices can always and will always go up,” Kent said. “And don’t always assume interest rates will stay low for the length of the loan.” The housing market has been pumped up by the RBA keeping its benchmark interest rate at a record-low 2.5 percent for more than a year, with investors accounting for a record 49 percent of new home loans in July. Demand for high-risk mortgages, including interest-only loans, is setting the stage for a jump in mortgage delinquencies when interest rates rise, Moody’s Investors Service said this month. “This is the first time we have seen the bank show genuine alarm at the recent lift in house prices,” Westpac Banking chief economist Bill Evans said in a research note. Foreign buyers Federal lawmaker Kelly O’Dwyer, who chairs a parliamentary inquiry into foreign investment in housing, told the summit she was concerned that first-time homebuyers are finding it “increasingly very difficult” to get into the market. She also called for stronger policing of rules that restrict foreigners purchasing houses amid concern that Chinese buyers are helping push up prices in Sydney and Melbourne. The Foreign Investment Review Board, or FIRB, which oversees the rules, “has demonstrated that they have not been doing their job,” she said. “In order to give confidence to people you have to have a regime that will be properly enforced,” O’Dwyer said. “FIRB said that we think everybody is complying a little bit better. I think that defies credibility.” Australian house and apartment prices rose 11 percent in August from a year earlier, led by gains of 16 percent in Sydney and 12 percent in Melbourne, according to the RP Data CoreLogic Home Value Index. The nation has the world’s third-most overvalued housing market on a price-to-income basis, after Belgium and Canada, according to the International Monetary Fund. First-time buyers “There’s good reason to be concerned about affordability, it’s pretty tough to get into the Sydney housing market, particularly if you’re a first home buyer,” David Rees, head of Australasian research at Jones Lang LaSalle, said at the summit. The share of home loans to first-time buyers fell in July to a record-low 12.2 percent, Bureau of Statistics data showed. Treasurer Joe Hockey said he is less worried by the rise in home prices, dismissing concern that Sydney’s housing market is in a bubble. “It is just an easy mantra for international commentators and for analysts based overseas to say, ‘well, there’s a bit of a housing bubble emerging in Australia’,” Hockey told on Tuesday’s summit. “That is a rather lazy analysis because fundamentally we don’t have enough supply to meet demand.” Bloomberg]]> http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/?p=324833 Absence of Positive Sentiment Puts a Damper on Trade in Local Stocks http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/?p=324809 Tue, 16 Sep 2014 23:08:37 +0700 Jakarta. Indonesian stocks fell on Tuesday as the rupiah continues to depreciate against the US dollar. An absence of positive sentiment has caused investors to be wary of putting huge bets on local stocks. The Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) fell 0.3 percent, or 14.39 points, to 5,135.5 on Tuesday. Some 4.35 billion shares, worth Rp 4.4 trillion ($371 million), changed hands on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX). Decliners beat gainers by 164 to 112. Foreign investors made up 43 percent of the trading activity, selling Rp 552 billion more in shares than they bought. Analysts in Jakarta said the absence of positive sentiment has further dampened investors’ appetite for local stocks. The finance sector lost 0.77 percent on Tuesday as Bank Rakyat Indonesia, the country’s second-largest lender by assets, fell 0.96 percent to Rp 10,325. Bank Central Asia, the third-biggest lender in Indonesia, lost 0.62 percent to Rp 11,950, while Bank Mandiri, the country’s biggest lender by assets, fell 0.73 percent to Rp 10,150. Shares in the property sector declined by 0.62 percent. Real estate developer Alam Sutera lost 0.42 percent to Rp 479. The company booked Rp 3.6 trillion in marketing sales as of August, a 3 percent rise compared to last year. Ciputra Development, one of the biggest property developers in Indonesia, lost 1.79 percent to Rp 1,100, while state-owned contractor Wijaya Karya lost 1.39 percent to Rp 2,835. The miscellaneous sector declined by 0.56 percent. Astra International, Indonesia’s biggest automotive distributor, fell 0.68 percent to Rp 7,250, while Selamat Sempurna dropped 1.4 percent to Rp 4,190. The rupiah declined to trade at 11,903 against the US dollar on Tuesday, compared with 11,875 trading level the day before, according to data from Bank Indonesia. Yield on the government’s 10-year bonds rose to 8.3188 percent, compared to 8.2921 percent on Monday, according to data from the Indonesia Bond Pricing Agency.]]> Jakarta. Indonesian stocks fell on Tuesday as the rupiah continues to depreciate against the US dollar. An absence of positive sentiment has caused investors to be wary of putting huge bets on local stocks. The Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) fell 0.3 percent, or 14.39 points, to 5,135.5 on Tuesday. Some 4.35 billion shares, worth Rp 4.4 trillion ($371 million), changed hands on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX). Decliners beat gainers by 164 to 112. Foreign investors made up 43 percent of the trading activity, selling Rp 552 billion more in shares than they bought. Analysts in Jakarta said the absence of positive sentiment has further dampened investors’ appetite for local stocks. The finance sector lost 0.77 percent on Tuesday as Bank Rakyat Indonesia, the country’s second-largest lender by assets, fell 0.96 percent to Rp 10,325. Bank Central Asia, the third-biggest lender in Indonesia, lost 0.62 percent to Rp 11,950, while Bank Mandiri, the country’s biggest lender by assets, fell 0.73 percent to Rp 10,150. Shares in the property sector declined by 0.62 percent. Real estate developer Alam Sutera lost 0.42 percent to Rp 479. The company booked Rp 3.6 trillion in marketing sales as of August, a 3 percent rise compared to last year. Ciputra Development, one of the biggest property developers in Indonesia, lost 1.79 percent to Rp 1,100, while state-owned contractor Wijaya Karya lost 1.39 percent to Rp 2,835. The miscellaneous sector declined by 0.56 percent. Astra International, Indonesia’s biggest automotive distributor, fell 0.68 percent to Rp 7,250, while Selamat Sempurna dropped 1.4 percent to Rp 4,190. The rupiah declined to trade at 11,903 against the US dollar on Tuesday, compared with 11,875 trading level the day before, according to data from Bank Indonesia. Yield on the government’s 10-year bonds rose to 8.3188 percent, compared to 8.2921 percent on Monday, according to data from the Indonesia Bond Pricing Agency.]]> http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/?p=324809 Myanmar Sees Foreign Investment Topping $5b in 2014-15 http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/?p=324758 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 10:50:41 +0700 Zay Yar Aung, Union Minister of Energy and chairman of the Myanmar Investment Commission talks during the Myanmar Global Investment Forum at the Myanmar International Convention Center Two in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on Sept. 26, 2014. (EPA Photo/Nyein Chan Naing) Zay Yar Aung, Union Minister of Energy and chairman of the Myanmar Investment Commission talks during the Myanmar Global Investment Forum at the Myanmar International Convention Center Two in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on Sept. 26, 2014. (EPA Photo/Nyein Chan Naing)[/caption] Yangon. Myanmar has revised its forecast for foreign direct investment to more than $5 billion for the fiscal year that began in April, a senior official said on Tuesday, surpassing earlier expectations and led by new ventures in energy and telecoms. The figure exceeds an earlier estimate of $4 billion, with investments in the first five months of this fiscal year worth $3.32 billion, said Aung Naing Oo, secretary of the government-run Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC). That sum was more than half of the annual target set earlier and up 113 percent over the corresponding period a year prior. “Considering the rapid growth in the inflow of FDI in the first five months during this fiscal year, we’ve revised our estimates,” he told Reuters. “It will be over $5 billion.” The surge in investment follows a series of political and economic reforms launched three years ago by President Thein Sein, a former general who has overseen Myanmar’s transition from decades of military rule and international isolation. The suspension of most sanctions by the European Union and the United States, in place since the 1990s over the poor human rights record of the former junta, has allowed more investment to flow into a country rich in energy and mining resources and strategically located between India, China and Southeast Asia. Aung Naing Oo said 31 percent of the investment received by the end of August was in the telecoms sector, with 23.8 percent in oil and gas and 18.4 percent in real estate. Hotels accounted for 13.3 percent and 8.1 percent went into manufacturing, primarily garments. Total FDI stood at $4.11 billion during the fiscal year to March 2014, up sharply from $1.42 billion a year earlier. That compares with $329.6 million in 2009-2010, a year before the new government took office and embarked on reforms. Despite its business potential, Myanmar still trails neighboring markets in terms of foreign investment this year. Thailand received $6.8 billion in the period from January to June, according to the central bank, while Vietnam recorded $7.9 billion of investment for the first eight months of 2014. Reuters]]> Zay Yar Aung, Union Minister of Energy and chairman of the Myanmar Investment Commission talks during the Myanmar Global Investment Forum at the Myanmar International Convention Center Two in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on Sept. 26, 2014. (EPA Photo/Nyein Chan Naing) Zay Yar Aung, Union Minister of Energy and chairman of the Myanmar Investment Commission talks during the Myanmar Global Investment Forum at the Myanmar International Convention Center Two in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on Sept. 26, 2014. (EPA Photo/Nyein Chan Naing)[/caption] Yangon. Myanmar has revised its forecast for foreign direct investment to more than $5 billion for the fiscal year that began in April, a senior official said on Tuesday, surpassing earlier expectations and led by new ventures in energy and telecoms. The figure exceeds an earlier estimate of $4 billion, with investments in the first five months of this fiscal year worth $3.32 billion, said Aung Naing Oo, secretary of the government-run Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC). That sum was more than half of the annual target set earlier and up 113 percent over the corresponding period a year prior. “Considering the rapid growth in the inflow of FDI in the first five months during this fiscal year, we’ve revised our estimates,” he told Reuters. “It will be over $5 billion.” The surge in investment follows a series of political and economic reforms launched three years ago by President Thein Sein, a former general who has overseen Myanmar’s transition from decades of military rule and international isolation. The suspension of most sanctions by the European Union and the United States, in place since the 1990s over the poor human rights record of the former junta, has allowed more investment to flow into a country rich in energy and mining resources and strategically located between India, China and Southeast Asia. Aung Naing Oo said 31 percent of the investment received by the end of August was in the telecoms sector, with 23.8 percent in oil and gas and 18.4 percent in real estate. Hotels accounted for 13.3 percent and 8.1 percent went into manufacturing, primarily garments. Total FDI stood at $4.11 billion during the fiscal year to March 2014, up sharply from $1.42 billion a year earlier. That compares with $329.6 million in 2009-2010, a year before the new government took office and embarked on reforms. Despite its business potential, Myanmar still trails neighboring markets in terms of foreign investment this year. Thailand received $6.8 billion in the period from January to June, according to the central bank, while Vietnam recorded $7.9 billion of investment for the first eight months of 2014. Reuters]]> http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/?p=324758 Rupiah Takes a Hit Amid Foreign Investor Sell-Off http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/business/rupiah-takes-hit-amid-foreign-investor-sell/ Tue, 16 Sep 2014 23:02:46 +0700 Jakarta. Foreign investors were seen pulling out from the Indonesian bond market this week as they unloaded some of their holdings of local assets, including bonds. Analysts and bonds traders in Jakarta said some overseas investors, who have been accumulating local assets after a smooth presidential election, weigh on a sooner than expected interest rate increase by the US Federal Reserve. Foreign holdings of government bonds fell by Rp 3 trillion ($250 million) to Rp 441.7 trillion between Sept. 10 and Sept. 12, the latest Finance Ministry data showed on Tuesday. The decline suggest a pullout. Robert Pakpahan, the director general of the debt management office at the finance ministry, did not respond to calls seeking comment on the bond holding. The government sold Rp 10 trillion of treasury bonds and bills on Tuesday. The yields for the five-year and 10-year bonds were 8.0498 percent and 8.3068 percent respectively, compared with 7.9900 percent and 8.2181 percent from the auction on Sept. 2, according to a Reuters report. The rupiah, which has been under pressure in recent weeks, declined by 1.3 percent in the past seven days to trade at 11,903 against the US dollar, data from Bank Indonesia showed. Finance Minister M. Chatib Basri said on Monday evening that the currency would depreciate until the Fed announce its latest stance. “The rupiah would weaken until there are decision from the Fed,” Chatib told reporters, referring to the result of US Federal Reserve Board’s Federal Open Committee meeting on Wednesday. Several Fed committee officials have suggested that the American central bank is poised to increase the Fed funds rate sooner than later. The Fed’s current guidance says that the interest rate will remain near zero “for a considerable time” after its bond buying program, also called quantitative easing, ends, Reuters reported. The rising interest would trim margins of investors, who have been borrowing funds from developed market to invest it in developing markets, such as Indonesia. Indonesia in particular, poses additional risks for those investors as the country is running a current-account deficit, which stood at 4.2 percent of gross domestic product in the April to June period. The deficit means Indonesia depends on offshore funding to finance its economy, which puts constant pressure on the local currency, thus trimming foreign investors’ gain in stocks and bonds further. The Indonesian central bank expects the current-account deficit to narrow only slightly to 3.2 percent of GDP at the end of this year.]]> Jakarta. Foreign investors were seen pulling out from the Indonesian bond market this week as they unloaded some of their holdings of local assets, including bonds. Analysts and bonds traders in Jakarta said some overseas investors, who have been accumulating local assets after a smooth presidential election, weigh on a sooner than expected interest rate increase by the US Federal Reserve. Foreign holdings of government bonds fell by Rp 3 trillion ($250 million) to Rp 441.7 trillion between Sept. 10 and Sept. 12, the latest Finance Ministry data showed on Tuesday. The decline suggest a pullout. Robert Pakpahan, the director general of the debt management office at the finance ministry, did not respond to calls seeking comment on the bond holding. The government sold Rp 10 trillion of treasury bonds and bills on Tuesday. The yields for the five-year and 10-year bonds were 8.0498 percent and 8.3068 percent respectively, compared with 7.9900 percent and 8.2181 percent from the auction on Sept. 2, according to a Reuters report. The rupiah, which has been under pressure in recent weeks, declined by 1.3 percent in the past seven days to trade at 11,903 against the US dollar, data from Bank Indonesia showed. Finance Minister M. Chatib Basri said on Monday evening that the currency would depreciate until the Fed announce its latest stance. “The rupiah would weaken until there are decision from the Fed,” Chatib told reporters, referring to the result of US Federal Reserve Board’s Federal Open Committee meeting on Wednesday. Several Fed committee officials have suggested that the American central bank is poised to increase the Fed funds rate sooner than later. The Fed’s current guidance says that the interest rate will remain near zero “for a considerable time” after its bond buying program, also called quantitative easing, ends, Reuters reported. The rising interest would trim margins of investors, who have been borrowing funds from developed market to invest it in developing markets, such as Indonesia. Indonesia in particular, poses additional risks for those investors as the country is running a current-account deficit, which stood at 4.2 percent of gross domestic product in the April to June period. The deficit means Indonesia depends on offshore funding to finance its economy, which puts constant pressure on the local currency, thus trimming foreign investors’ gain in stocks and bonds further. The Indonesian central bank expects the current-account deficit to narrow only slightly to 3.2 percent of GDP at the end of this year.]]> http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/business/rupiah-takes-hit-amid-foreign-investor-sell/ Motorola Launches Latest Budget Phone http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/business/motorola-launches-latest-budget-phone/ Tue, 16 Sep 2014 23:06:07 +0700 Jakarta. Motorola Mobility, the American mobile phone manufacturer previously owned by Google, is set to enter the Indonesian market with the introduction of its latest range of low-cost smartphones. The mobile device would mark the Chicago-based company’s latest product within two months. Motorola Mobility will start selling its latest budget smartphone, the Moto E, capitalizing on the rising middle class in the Southeast Asia’s largest economy. “The Moto E is a very strong smartphone, and designed for customers that are price conscious and for those who have yet to experience accessing the Internet through their handset,” Magnus Ahlqvist, Motorola’s corporate vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC), said in a press statement obtained by the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday. The statement did not provide details on the number of Moto E handsets the company is aiming to sell from its first shipment to the country. The Moto E, which runs on Google’s Android operating system, is available for pre-order until Friday through Lazada.co.id, an online retailer, with a price tag of Rp 1.29 million ($108). In January this year, Motorola Mobility announced it had inked a $2.92 billion deal with Lenovo that would shift control of the company to the Chinese computer manufacturer by 2015. It is among the many mobile phone producers that have been struggling to catch up to the popularity of industry giants Samsung and Apple. Motorola introduced the Moto G, the first line of budget phones the manufacturer launched this year, to the Indonesian market in July. The device is also available on Lazada, which provides Internet retail services in Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. Motorola, which was known for its flip phones during the 2000s, joins the ranks of other mobile phone producers rushing to sell their products in Indonesia, which has become home to the largest smartphone market in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, Google is planning to market its Android One handset series by the end of this year, setting a retail price of $105. Both Google and Motorola will face fierce competition from Xiaomi, one of China’s largest smartphone makers, which launched its low-cost smartphone device, the RedMi 1S, in Indonesia on Sept. 5. The company targets to sell between 60 million and 65 million units worldwide by the end of this year. Shipments of mobile phones to Indonesia increased 57 percent to reach some 11 million units last year, from roughly seven million units in 2012, according to the International Data Corporation.]]> Jakarta. Motorola Mobility, the American mobile phone manufacturer previously owned by Google, is set to enter the Indonesian market with the introduction of its latest range of low-cost smartphones. The mobile device would mark the Chicago-based company’s latest product within two months. Motorola Mobility will start selling its latest budget smartphone, the Moto E, capitalizing on the rising middle class in the Southeast Asia’s largest economy. “The Moto E is a very strong smartphone, and designed for customers that are price conscious and for those who have yet to experience accessing the Internet through their handset,” Magnus Ahlqvist, Motorola’s corporate vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC), said in a press statement obtained by the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday. The statement did not provide details on the number of Moto E handsets the company is aiming to sell from its first shipment to the country. The Moto E, which runs on Google’s Android operating system, is available for pre-order until Friday through Lazada.co.id, an online retailer, with a price tag of Rp 1.29 million ($108). In January this year, Motorola Mobility announced it had inked a $2.92 billion deal with Lenovo that would shift control of the company to the Chinese computer manufacturer by 2015. It is among the many mobile phone producers that have been struggling to catch up to the popularity of industry giants Samsung and Apple. Motorola introduced the Moto G, the first line of budget phones the manufacturer launched this year, to the Indonesian market in July. The device is also available on Lazada, which provides Internet retail services in Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. Motorola, which was known for its flip phones during the 2000s, joins the ranks of other mobile phone producers rushing to sell their products in Indonesia, which has become home to the largest smartphone market in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, Google is planning to market its Android One handset series by the end of this year, setting a retail price of $105. Both Google and Motorola will face fierce competition from Xiaomi, one of China’s largest smartphone makers, which launched its low-cost smartphone device, the RedMi 1S, in Indonesia on Sept. 5. The company targets to sell between 60 million and 65 million units worldwide by the end of this year. Shipments of mobile phones to Indonesia increased 57 percent to reach some 11 million units last year, from roughly seven million units in 2012, according to the International Data Corporation.]]> http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/business/motorola-launches-latest-budget-phone/