Survey of recent developments
The Indonesian economy is maintaining its momentum at a time of ongoing uncertainty in the global economy and slowing economic growth in China. Strong domestic demand saw output grow by 6.4% over the year to June, despite a steep fall in net exports. Inflation is safely within Bank Indonesia's target range, although food prices have increased relatively quickly. The current account deficit widened to 3.1% of GDP in the June quarter due to continued growth in imports and falling prices for commodity exports. The trade environment has deteriorated in 2012, and new divestment and domestic processing requirements are likely to further reduce investor interest in the mining sector. President Yudhoyono has recently made several speeches calling for a ‘green growth agenda’. Some progress has been seen in slowing deforestation and in establishing mechanisms for facilitating payments to reduce emissions from deforestation, but loss of natural forests remains rapid. Carbon dioxide emissions from energy are growing quickly, stoked by increasing use of coal. The proposed 2013 budget continues to be heavily burdened by energy subsidies, which encourage over-consumption of fossil fuels. In most respects, therefore, the business-asusual trajectory of the Indonesian economy is unlikely to be particularly green. A barrier to subsidy reform is its perceived unpopularity, including the threat of public protests such as those witnessed in March. To gauge current opinion we carried out a survey of Jakarta-based university students. The results indicated majority support for the removal of fuel subsidies, but some respondents said they would protest against fuel subsidy reductions, highlighting the politically sensitive nature of the issue. Indonesia has witnessed booms in the coal and palm oil sectors in recent years, becoming the world's largest exporter of both commodities. We review the benefits from these two booms and the tensions between the development of these sectors and environmental goals. We also review the tourism sector, which remains relatively under-developed outside Bali. Tourism is a potential source of long-run growth that may be aligned with a green economy. The development of the sector would be aided by infrastructure improvements and a renewed focus on the conservation of natural assets.
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Volume (Year): 48 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
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