Indonesian inflation slows to 5.57% in April due to lower food prices

JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesian inflation eased to 5.57 per cent on-year in April due to lower food prices after the government eased some import restrictions, official data showed on Wednesday.

It slowed from 5.90 per cent in March, but it was still above the upper limit of the central bank's target range of 3.5-5.5 per cent.

In particular, a "drastic drop in garlic prices" helped to push inflation lower last month, said statistics agency chief Suryamin, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

The trade ministry last week eased restrictions on some agricultural imports, including garlic, after the United States complained to the World Trade Organisation about Jakarta's "opaque and complex rules".

The restrictions had been in large part blamed for a rise in inflation in recent months.

But Mr Juniman, chief economist at Bank Internasional Indonesia, warned that the end of the harvesting season and a plan by the government to hike fuel prices could push up inflation again in Southeast Asia's top economy.

A rise in fuel prices would push up not only the cost of petrol, but also prices of everyday goods due to the increased cost of transportation.

"What we need to look out for is the fuel price hike and the fact that the harvesting season has ended,"Mr Juniman, who goes by one name, told AFP.