Money Briefs: Indonesia's benchmark interest rate remains

Indonesia's benchmark interest rate remains

JAKARTA • Indonesia's central bank yesterday left its benchmark interest rate unchanged for a seventh month as inflation heads closer to the top of the target band.

Governor Agus Martowardojo and his board held the seven-day reverse repurchase rate at 4.75 per cent . The bank went on a cutting spree last year as it lowered rates six times, but the rate has been on hold since the last move last October.

Consumer prices rose at the fastest pace in more than a year last month, gaining 4.17 per cent from a year earlier. The central bank aims to keep inflation in a range of 3 per cent to 5 per cent.

Bank Indonesia said inflation is manageable, but there are risks, including higher energy costs and a pickup in food prices.



Increase in Britain's April retail sales

LONDON • Retail sales in Britain gained more than expected last month as nice weather prompted Britons to splurge on their homes and gardens.

The volume of goods sold in stores and online increased 2.3 per cent after a 1.4 per cent drop in March, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday.

The data suggests consumer spending, the mainstay of economic growth, is holding up in the face of rapidly increasing food and fuel costs. Inflation accelerated at the fastest pace since September 2013 last month and workers are seeing their real earnings fall for the first time in 21/2 years.

Retail sales rose 4 per cent compared with the year earlier. Sales excluding auto fuel gained 2 per cent on the month. The increase was driven by all sectors except department stores and clothing.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2017, with the headline 'Money Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe