Asian markets were still deep in the red on Friday. Tokyo plummeted 6.08 percent, Shanghai was down 1.23 percent, Hong Kong dropped 1.14 percent while Singapore slipped 1.67 percent.London, however, jumped 4.36 percent in early trading while Frankfurt soared 3.4 percent and Paris increased 3.96 percent. Dow Jones futures in New York indicates that the index will start the trade with more than an 800-point jump.Hans also said several companies’ plans to buy back their shares helped shave the index’ loss. As many as 12 state companies had allocated between Rp 7 trillion and Rp 8 trillion to buy their shares from the public while privately listed companies had also bought back their shares to limit the falls.Read also: Government allocates $8b to stimulate economy as businesses, workers suffer from COVID-19 impactsA sizeable number of stocks moved into green territory by the end of Friday trading. PT Indofood CBP Sukses Makmur (ICBP) rallied upward by 4.28 percent, PT Unilever Indonesia (UNVR) climbed 3.81 percent, PT Bank Negara Indonesia (BBNI) rose 3.48 percent and PT Wijaya Karya (WIKA) increased 3.06 percent.The rupiah also managed to make back earlier losses and closed the trading 1.76 percent weaker at Rp 14,777.5 against the US dollar after weakening as low as 2.05 percent at some point on Friday to a level unseen in 16 months. (ydp) Read also: Trading halted for first time since 2008 over pandemic“The fiscal stimulus creates positive sentiment among market players. It signals that the government is serious in fighting against the impacts of the coronavirus,” Anugerah Mega Investama director Hans Kwee told The Jakarta Post on Friday.Indonesia announced on Friday it was allocating Rp 120 trillion (US$8.1 billion) from the state budget to stimulate the economy through tax incentives and subsidies for workers, businesses and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.The second stimulus package announced on the same day, worth Rp 22.9 trillion (US$1.5 billion), would include individual and corporate tax breaks as well as relaxation in loan disbursement and restructuring. Indonesian stocks rebounded during afternoon trading on Friday after hitting circuit breaker in the morning as the government’s announcement of a second stimulus package to cushion the economy from the impacts of the coronavirus soothes investors’ nerves.The Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) closed Friday’s session 0.24 percent higher at 4,907.57 despite hitting circuit breaker in early trading as stocks crashed more than 5 percent just 15 minutes into the session amid a global market rout. Trading resumed after a 30-minute suspension with the index hovering around a four-year low before rebounding in the afternoon.On Thursday, trading at the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) was also halted 30 minutes before the end of the session as stocks plummeted more than 5 percent, the first trading suspension since the 2008 financial crisis. Topics :
Dialling in from her Berlin flat, Merkel, 65, led a cabinet meeting that decided on a major rescue package for virus-stricken companies and employees in Europe’s top economy.”She was tested today and now we are waiting for the results, and we’ll see what comes out of that,” Seibert said, adding that any next steps would be guided by advice from doctors and Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) disease control agency.Seibert thanked everyone on Merkel’s behalf for “the many, many well wishes and messages for the chancellor to stay healthy”.The spokesman declined to say whether Merkel’s chemistry professor husband Joachim Sauer was quarantining with her, saying he would not share information about family members. Angela Merkel is “doing well” in self-imposed quarantine and awaiting the results of her coronavirus test, her spokesman said Monday, as the veteran chancellor joined millions of Germans in working from home.Merkel decided to self-isolate as a precaution after learning on Sunday that a doctor who vaccinated her last Friday was infected with the novel coronavirus.”The chancellor is doing well,” her spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters. Asked if he himself, as a close Merkel staffer, should self-isolate, Seibert said he last met with the chancellor on Sunday afternoon but had stuck to the advice of keeping a safe physical distance from people.News that Merkel was going into quarantine came shortly after she gave a press conference in Berlin where she showed no symptoms of ill health.She used the press conference to announce fresh curbs on social interactions to contain a pandemic that has infected over 22,600 people in Germany and killed 86.The latest measures include a ban on gatherings of more than two people, on top of last week’s closures of schools, non-essential shops, bars and restaurants.The head of the RKI, Lothar Wieler, on Monday said he was “optimistic” that the restrictions were paying off, noting that the outbreak’s “exponential growth curve had started to flatten a bit”.He expected to have a clearer view of the trend by Wednesday.Topics :
The State Palace was not immediately available for comment when asked about Jokowi’s call with Rouhani. But the Iranian Embassy in Jakarta has confirmed it.On Tuesday, Jokowi stressed on his official Twitter account the need for solidarity among nations during the COVID-19 pandemic.“COVID-19 knows no borders, ethnicities and religions. It is impossible to fight it alone. That’s why I have been talking to several leaders of countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the United States, China, Russia, Japan, Singapore, Australia and others, in the spirit of solidarity and helping each other,” he said. The leaders also talked about the COVID-19 pandemic and the two countries’ plans to fight the highly contagious disease. During the telephone conversation, Jokowi and Rouhani also shared each country’s experiences and scientific achievements as well as plans to develop cooperation to meet each other’s needs.”The Islamic Republic of Iran has achieved good success in the field of science and technology and supplying and manufacturing requirements such as test kits, ventilators, CT scans and N95 masks and is ready to cooperate and interact with Indonesia in this regard,” Rouhani said as quoted by ISNA on Monday.As of Wednesday, Iran has recorded 92,584 cases of COVID-19, with 5,877 deaths, Worldometers recorded.Meanwhile, Indonesia has reported 9,511 confirmed cases with 773 fatalities. Topics : President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had a fruitful conversation over the phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday, during which they stressed the importance of cooperation in the fight against COVID-19.The two leaders acknowledged the friendly relationship between their countries and highlighted the further development of ties and cooperation between Tehran and Jakarta to serve both nations’ interests, Iranian news outlet ISNA reported.Rouhani also congratulated Indonesians on the holy month of Ramadan, expressing hope that it would bring only blessings for all Muslims.
US President Donald Trump this week threatened to cut ties with China, where the outbreak began late last year, over its role in the spread of COVID-19, and has repeatedly made unproven allegations that the virus originated in a Chinese lab.He has also suspended funding to the WHO over allegations it initially downplayed the seriousness of the outbreak, and was kowtowing to Beijing.Despite the tensions, countries hope to adopt by consensus a resolution urging a joint response to the pandemic.Consultations around the resolution, tabled by the European Union, concluded this week after “tough” negotiations, according to Nora Kronig, who heads the international affairs division of Switzerland’s public health office.”One challenge was that it is almost impossible to negotiate in a virtual fashion. That makes it more complicated to build consensus in small groups,” she told AFP.But after several days, a tentative agreement was reached to approve the resolution, which among other things calls for more equitable access for tests, medical equipment, potential treatments and a possible future vaccine.’Ambitious’An EU source hailed the draft as “ambitious”, and pointed out that if it does indeed pass by consensus as expected, it would mark the first time a global forum achieves unanimous support for a text on the COVID-19 response.The source said countries had not shied away from thorny topics, including a call for more WHO reform after determining that its capacities “have proven insufficient to prevent a crisis of this magnitude.”While diplomats have agreed in principle on the draft resolution, observers voiced concerns that in the current politicised atmosphere, some countries might still choose to break the consensus next week.”My hope is that we will be able to join consensus,” US Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva Andrew Bremberg said Friday.The United States and Europe are at loggerheads over future vaccine access, while Washington has also accused China of trying to steal US immunisation research. And Washington is also leading a number of countries in demanding that the WHO end its exclusion of Taiwan — considered by Beijing to be part of its territory — and allow it to access next week’s assembly as an observer.Taiwan participation a ‘minimum'”While this has been an ongoing concern for several years, this has taken on a heightened attention this year in response to the global pandemic,” Bremberg said.”Allowing for some sort of meaningful participation would seem to be the minimum that the WHO could do.”The UN health agency has, however, insisted that such a move would require a resolution by member states, who in 1972 decided Beijing was China’s sole legitimate representative.It has also suggested it can only issue an invite with Beijing’s blessing.Taiwan was invited to attend the WHA for a number of years as an observer, but that stopped in 2016, with the entrance of a new Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, who refuses to recognise the concept that Taiwan is part of “one China”. The United States, which will be represented during the assembly by Health Secretary Alex Azar, is meanwhile not among a group of more than a dozen countries who have called for a vote on allowing Taiwan to participate.Several diplomatic sources cautioned that putting this issue to a vote even under normal conditions would be a drawn-out process, and that doing so during a short, virtual meeting would be an unsurmountable logistical challenge.It would “torpedo” the entire assembly, one diplomatic source warned.Topics : WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday the event would be “one of the most important (WHAs) since we were founded in 1948″.But the chance of reaching agreement on global measures to address the crisis could be threatened by steadily deteriorating relations between the world’s two largest economies over the pandemic.’Politicization'”Of course I am concerned at the politicisation of the WHA and the risk of its failure,” Gian Luca Burci, an adjunct professor at the Geneva Graduate Institute’s Global Health Centre, told AFP. As the World Health Organization prepares to host its main annual meeting next week, fears abound that US-China tensions could hamper the strong action needed to address the COVID-19 crisis.The UN health agency, which for months has been consumed by the towering task of trying to coordinate a global response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, will for the first time invite health ministers and other dignitaries to participate virtually in its annual meet.The World Health Assembly, which has been trimmed from the usual three weeks to just two days, on Monday and Tuesday, is expected to focus almost solely on COVID-19, which in a matter of months has killed more than 300,000 globally, and infected nearly 4.5 million.
Retail sales have dropped 64 percent, according to data from the Office of the Coordinating Economic Affairs Minister.Meanwhile, to anticipate new customer behavior, APPBI has urged retailers to look to digital channels to reach consumers.During the health crisis, Indonesian consumers have relied on online delivery platforms to purchase groceries and food instead of visiting supermarkets.Minimarket chain Alfamart marketing director Ryan Alfons Kaloh said that during the PSBB period, 3,000 of Alfamart’s 14,000 outlets nationwide had catered to online orders as a strategy to retain customers.“We have to understand our customers’ needs. What if there is another period of PSBB because of a second wave like in South Korea? Well, we must be ready to change and adapt again,” he said during the same webinar.Meanwhile, Boga Group, which operates more than 150 restaurants in major cities across Indonesia, has provided online delivery services since the government called for shopping malls to close in March.The group’s president director, Kusnadi Raharja, said it had made major changes in its business operations during the pandemic, including transforming almost of all of its restaurants into “cloud kitchens” that cater to online orders.While the group still plans to resume dine-in services at more than half of its restaurants, the rest will continue to cater to online deliveries going forward, including offering ready-to-cook meals, Kusnadi said.“Switching to online deliveries or contactless dine-in services has been quite easy, as we already have the technology, such as online menus and cashless payment. It is just a matter of accelerating the adaptation,” he said.Ready-to-cook meals are among the products that have seen an increase in popularity during the pandemic, while coffee shops have been selling coffee by the liter to keep their businesses afloat.Read also: New layout, new experience: Restaurateurs prepare for reopeningTopics : While the government eases restrictions and reopens the economy, the retail sector will take time to recover as consumers continue to hold fears over COVID-19, an industry association has said.The Indonesian Shopping Center Association (APPBI) stated that it expected shoppers to continue buying their basic necessities when visiting shopping malls and then returning straight home, as has been observed thus far during the pandemic, instead of browsing through shops for leisure, as is the case in normal times.“People are not going to flock to shopping malls straight away because they will still be worried about the pandemic,” APPBI chairman Stefanus Ridwan said during a MarkPlus online webinar on Tuesday. He added that the number of shopping mall visitors had dropped since the country’s first two COVID-19 cases were announced in March. During the pandemic, no less than 190 shopping malls across the country have been temporarily closed, APPBI data show.Meanwhile, starting in June, the government has begun to relax the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) that were implemented to contain the virus, allowing shopping centers, among other facilities, to open gradually. The Jakarta administration stated that all shopping malls in the city would be allowed to reopen on June 15.However, Stefanus said customers would still need time to adjust to the health requirements of the so-called “new normal”, including wearing a face mask inside malls, practicing physical distancing and using cashless payment.The adjustment period for customers will take around one-and-a-half years, Stefanus added.
Brazil recorded a new daily record of coronavirus cases Wednesday with nearly 68,000 infections, a sign COVID-19 is still far from being brought under control in the hard-hit country.The health ministry said 67,860 new infections and 1,284 deaths had been reported in the past 24 hours in Brazil, which has the second-biggest outbreak in the world after the United States.The South American country of 212 million people has recorded 2.2 million infections and 82,771 deaths from the new coronavirus since confirming its first case five months ago. Experts say under-testing means the real numbers are probably much higher.Brazil has struggled to set a strategy for responding to the pandemic.President Jair Bolsonaro faces criticism for downplaying the virus and attacking social distancing measures adopted by state and local authorities.The far-right leader, who has regularly flouted such measures by hitting the streets mask-less for rallies by his supporters, has been in quarantine at the presidential palace since July 7 after contracting the virus himself. His office announced Wednesday he had again tested positive, saying he would continue his quarantine and suspend his upcoming travel plans.Bolsonaro, 65, argues the economic fallout from stay-at-home measures could be worse than the virus itself, and is instead pushing the unproven malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as remedies, following in the footsteps of US President Donald Trump.Margareth Dalcomo, an expert at Brazil’s leading public-health institute, Fiocruz, said Bolsonaro’s hydroxychloroquine-pushing was “deplorable.””This politicization of the drug by the US and Brazilian presidents for murky reasons has no justification, and it deceives people,” she told AFP.”It has been proven this drug has no effect against COVID-19.”Bolsonaro is on his third health minister since the pandemic reached Brazil five months ago, after falling out with two doctors who previously held the post over their recommendations on containing the virus.The current minister, an interim, is Eduardo Pazuello, an army general with no prior medical experience.The World Health Organization voiced optimism last week that the outbreak in Brazil had finally reached a plateau, urging the country to use the opportunity to “take control.”But though the level of daily infections and deaths has stabilized, it remains high.The country has recorded an average of more than 37,000 infections and 1,050 deaths a day over the past week.Its previous daily infection record was 54,771, on June 19. Topics :
It expects only little growth of 1 percent or even a contraction of 0.4 percent for the full year, depending on the severity of the virus crisis.“This is also the first time that Bank Indonesia bought sovereign debt papers to support the financing of non-public goods,” Deni added.Bank Indonesia (BI) and the government have agreed on a debt monetization scheme worth $40 billion, which will see BI buy at least around $27 billion through private placement to finance the crisis response.Read also: Indonesia raises record high $1.27b from retail bonds saleMeanwhile, credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings affirmed Indonesia’s long-term foreign currency issuer default rating at “BBB with a stable outlook” on Monday, the lower-medium investment grade.Fitch cited a favorable medium-term growth outlook and low government debt-to-GDP ratio against high dependence on external financing among the reasons for retaining the rating but also noted issues around low state revenue and lagging structural indicators.Fitch expects Indonesia’s economy to contract 2 percent this year, before rebounding to 6.6 percent growth in 2021 and 5.5 percent in 2022. The rating agency also forecasts Indonesia’s fiscal deficit to narrow to 5 percent next year and 3.5 percent in 2022, as most of the pandemic-related expenditure is expected to be temporary.Separately, Bank Mandiri economist Andry Asmoro said prudent fiscal policies in recent years had provided room for policies to deal with the impact of the coronavirus, adding that the burden-sharing agreement between the government and the central bank would help reduce the debt burden.“The Fed’s dovish policy, accommodative policies from BI and stable domestic inflation at a low level will all support the domestic bond market,” he said in a note. “Looking ahead, the attractiveness of the domestic bond market could cause a decline in bond yields.” Indonesia raised another Rp 22 trillion (US$1.48 billion) on Tuesday from government bonds to fund the country’s fiscal deficit and the costly fight against the unfolding pandemic, with the central bank participating in the tender.The Finance Ministry received incoming bids of Rp 106 trillion – the second-highest bids volume throughout the year – from both domestic and foreign investors.“The demand for government bonds is being driven by national banks that have ample liquidity and rising participation from foreign investors,” said the ministry’s director for sovereign debt papers, Deni Ridwan, adding that foreign investors made up 33 percent of the incoming bids. Topics : “Rising participation from foreign investors showed that their trust in Indonesia’s economic prospects has begun to recover,” he went on to say.The bond series have varied maturity periods of three months to 28 years, according to the ministry’s data, with yields ranging from 3.25 percent for the three-months tenure to 7.4 percent for 28-year bonds.The government faces the daunting task of raising Rp 990.1 trillion in the second half of this year to cover a fiscal deficit of 6.34 percent of the GDP, as the country reels from the pandemic impact. It raised Rp 22 trillion from a government bond issuance in July.The government has allocated Rp 695.2 trillion for the country’s COVID-19 response to strengthen health care and rescue the economy, which contracted 5.32 percent in the second quarter, marking the first contraction since the first quarter of 1998.
Maritime Affairs and Fishery Minister Edhy Prabowo has tested positive for COVID-19, according to House of Representatives Commission IV deputy chairman Daniel Johan.“I heard the news from a ministry staff member,” Daniel said as quoted by kompas.com on Tuesday, adding that he received the information on Sept. 3.Daniel claimed he had immediately contacted Edhy and wished him a speedy recovery. He also urged anyone who had recent contact with Edhy to get tested. “I was informed on Sept. 3, but I had to ask for the exact date. However, I have also been informed that he is currently in good condition,” Daniel said. (dpk)Topics :
Israel shutdown Outside Europe, Israel is set to be the first developed country to enforce a second nationwide shutdown, to begin on Friday afternoon.Its government called for hundreds of its citizens who are blocked on the Ukraine-Belarus border to return home.Around 2,000 Hasidic Jew pilgrims, mainly from the US, Israel and France, are massed at the border which has been closed by Ukraine for most of this month to prevent the spread of the virus.The pilgrims were hoping to reach the city of Uman for the Jewish New Year this weekend.Israel has the world’s second-highest virus infection rate after Bahrain, according to an AFP tally.In further comments on Thursday, the WHO Europe said it would not change its guidance for a 14-day quarantine period for those exposed to the virus.The recommendation is “based on our understanding of the incubation period and transmission of the disease. We would only revise that on the basis of a change of our understanding of the science,” WHO Europe’s senior emergency officer Catherine Smallwood said.France has reduced the recommended time period for self-isolation to seven days, while it is 10 days in the UK and Ireland. Several more European countries, such as Portugal and Croatia, are also considering shorter quarantines. More than 30 million infections have been recorded and more than 943,000 people have died since the novel coronavirus emerged in China late last year, according to the latest AFP tally based on official sources. Europe accounts for 4.7 million of the total.Across Europe, governments are battling to contain the fresh spike in cases, while wanting to avoiding inflicting fresh damage on their economies and imposing broad new restrictions on their virus-weary populations.French authorities are preparing tighter restrictions in several cities to curtail a surge in COVID-19 cases that has seen nearly 10,000 new cases per day reported over the past week.Health Minister Olivier Veran said new measures would be announced for Lyon and Nice by Saturday, after curbs on public gatherings were imposed this week in Bordeaux and Marseille. Coronavirus infections topped 30 million around the globe on Thursday as the World Health Organization warned of “alarming rates of transmission” across Europe and cautioned against shortening quarantine periods.The WHO’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said a September surge “should serve as a wake-up call for all of us” after Europe set a new record last week, with some 54,000 cases recorded in 24 hours.”Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming rates of transmission across the region,” he told an online news conference from Copenhagen. ‘Second hump’ In Britain, new measures will take effect Friday, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning that pubs may have to close earlier to help avoid a “second hump” of coronavirus cases.Residents of northeast England, including the cities of Newcastle and Sunderland, will no longer be allowed to meet people outside their own homes.The government, which is facing criticism over a lack of testing capacity, imposed rules across England on Monday limiting socializing to groups of six or fewer, as daily cases reached levels not seen since early May.Britain has been Europe’s worst-hit country with nearly 42,000 deaths.The city of Madrid meanwhile backtracked on a plan for targeted lockdowns and said it would instead move to “reduce mobility and contacts” in areas with high infection rates.Austria announced that private indoor gatherings would be limited to 10 people, including all parties, private events and meetings indoors. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz had warned earlier this week that the Alpine nation was entering a second wave of infections. Vaccine race Elsewhere, a study released by Oxfam found that rich nations have already bought up over half the promised COVID-19 vaccine stocks.”Access to a life-saving vaccine shouldn’t depend on where you live or how much money you have,” said Robert Silverman of Oxfam America.Drugs companies are racing to produce an effective jab to counter a virus that has now killed more than 940,000 people around the world and infected almost 30 million.The five leading vaccine candidates currently in late-stage trials will be able to supply 5.9 billion doses, enough to inoculate about three billion people, Oxfam said.Some 51 percent of those jabs have been snapped up by wealthy nations and blocs including the United States, Britain, the European Union, Australia, Hong Kong and Macau, Japan, Switzerland and Israel.The remaining 2.6 billion have been bought by or promised to developing countries including India, Bangladesh, China, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico.As tragedies multiply, governments face legal action from citizens for alleged response failures.A French association of COVID-19 victims plans to file a legal complaint against Prime Minister Jean Castex over France’s handling of the pandemic, its lawyer said.In China, however, bereaved relatives have had their lawsuits abruptly rejected while dozens of others face pressure from authorities not to file, according to people involved in the effort.The economic effects of the pandemic continue to grow.On Thursday New Zealand plunged into recession for the first time in a decade, the 12.2 percent contraction in April-June “by far the largest” since records began, national data agency Stats NZ said.Topics :
Unlike many other Asian capitals, Jakarta authorities did not impose a strict lockdown, opting for more calibrated social restrictions, an approach that some health experts have said was too lax.After an initial surge at the start of the pandemic, burials in Jakarta dropped to around 20 to 30 on average per day in July and August. But they shot up in September to between 50 and more than 60 per day, data from the city government showed.As ambulances carrying victims snaked around the entrance of Pandok Ranggoon cemetery, Junaedi said it could be full within two months at the current rate of burials.”Usually, we bury around 10 people everyday. But for the last few days, when we handle COVID-19 burials, it has reached an average of 30 per day,” he said. Gravedigger Junaedi Bin Hakim toils until nearly midnight almost every day in a Jakarta cemetery, preparing plots for fellow Indonesians amid a renewed spike in coronavirus burials.”I am worried and scared but this is part of my job and responsibilities,” said 43-year-old Junaedi, who prior to the global pandemic routinely left work at 4 p.m. to spend time with his young family.Jakarta has been the epicenter of the outbreak in Indonesia, where authorities have struggled for months to contain the virus. The country has reported nearly 245,000 cases, including 9,553 deaths, the highest levels in southeast Asia. Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said more land had been earmarked in case that happens.The number of deaths across Indonesia has averaged 114 per day over the past week, up from 64 a month ago, according to a Reuters tally based on official data.Anies said in an interview last week that while not all burials were definitely COVID-19 patients, “I don’t see any other disease going on in our city”.Anies said the rise in funerals, along with strain on the city’s healthcare system, were the reasons why he reinstated social restrictions in Jakarta last week, which prohibit working from offices except for essential businesses, as well as limit the capacity of public transport and places of worship.”We had never experienced this kind of jump,” he said. “That’s why … we decided to pull a brake.”For Junaedi’s wife, Karlina, her husband’s work is a source of fear for her small children, despite the health protocols being followed for burials.”I still have two children at home so definitely I’m scared and worried,” she said.Topics :