Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Crime Figures Down in Bali but Critics Say Security Has Long Way to Go

Crime Figures Down in Bali but Critics Say Security Has Long Way to Go
Made Arya Kencana | December 29, 2010



Denpasar. Bali Police on Wednesday reported a small drop in the number of crimes involving foreign tourists this year, but were told much more needed to be done.

Some critics said the police focus seemed to be on foreign tourists, while domestic tourists accounted for the largest number of visitors to the island.

Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya, head of the Bali Tourism Board, said there needed to be a greater focus by the police on overall security for tourists, foreign and domestic alike.

“Please do not forget that the number of domestic tourists traveling to Bali is far greater than the number of foreign visitors,” Ida Bagus said.

He was responding to Wednesday’s year-end report by the Bali Police. It said the number of foreign tourists in Bali who fell victim to criminal activity had fallen to 217 in 2010, from 280 the previous year.

“And the decrease in crimes involving foreign tourists is still very small,” Ida Bagus said. “There is a whole lot of work yet to be done by local police.”

Sr. Comr. Gde Sugianyar Dwi Putra, a Bali Police spokesman, however, said the decrease was significant considering the number of officers on Bali and the number of tourists.

He said there were 12,000 police officers to cover the entire island, while Bali had welcomed 2.27 million tourists this year as of Monday.

“And even if this is seen as a small decrease, we hope it can at least project the impression that Bali is getting safer,” he said.

Most of the foreign tourists targeted by criminals were the victims of robbery, he added.

“However, we still guarantee their security. We will do everything in our power to see that visitors do not suffer even a single scratch,” he said.

Sugianyar added that the number of foreigners involved in crimes on the island had also decreased — to 82 so far this year from 86 last year.

Of these 82 cases, 27 involved drug crimes. Sr. Comr. Mulyadi, head of the Bali Police’s narcotics division, said the total number of drug crimes on the island had risen to 264 so far in 2010 from 118 last year.

Police, he added, had seized 10 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, six kilograms of marijuana, six kilograms of hashish, 5.6 kilograms of cocaine and more than 8,300 ecstasy pills this year.

Three men, including two foreign nationals, were arrested last month at Ngurah Rai Airport for drug smuggling.

“Bali is still considered part of the golden triangle for drug dealing and distribution by international syndicates,” Mulyadi said.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bali Hindu Holidays 2011

These are the public holidays and Balinese holidays according common business offices at Bali.
The shared holidays is used to Government officer and banks.

Bali Hindu Holidays 2011

• Pengerupukan - March 4, 2011 (we are using as half day to work)

• Hari Suci Nyepi Tahun Baru 1933 - March 5, 2011

• Ngembak Geni - March 6, 2011

• Hari Saraswati - April 23, 2011

• Hari Pagerwesi - April 27, 2011

• Penampahan Galungan - July 5, 2011

• Hari Raya Galungan - July 6, 2011

• Hari Umanis Galungan - July 7, 2011

• Penampahan Kuningan - July 15, 2011

• Hari Raya Kuningan - July 16, 2011

• Hari Raya Saraswati - November 19, 2011

• Hari Pagerwesi - November 23, 2011

These holidays are in addition to 12 National Holidays observed by all Indonesians.

Indonesian National Holidays 2011

• New Years Day - January 1, 2011

• Chinese New Year (Imlek) 2562 – February 3, 2011

• Birthday of the Prophet Muhammad - February 15, 2011

• Bali's official day of Silence – (Nyepi) Hindu New Year 1933 - March 5, 2011

• Good Friday - April 22, 2011

• Easter Sunday - April 22, 2011

• Waisak 2555 - May 17, 2011

• The Ascension of Jesus Christ - June 2, 2011

• Isra Mi'raj Prophet Mohammad SAW / Celebrating the Ascension of The Prophet Muhammad - June 29, 2011

• Indonesian National Independence Day - August 17, 2011

• Idul Fitri 1432 H - August 30-31, 2011

• Idul Adha 1432 H - November 6, 2011

• Islamic New Year 1433 H - November 27, 2011

• Christmas Day - December 25, 2011

DJ MARKET TALK: Lynas Corp Rises To Record On China Quota Cut

28-Dec-2010
2331 GMT [Dow Jones] Rare earths developer Lynas Corp. (LYC.AU) gets its usual fillip from news of declining Chinese rare earths exports: Lynas up 8.6%, or 14 cents, to A$1.76/share with a healthy 11.6 million shares, worth A$20.1 million, changing hands; move pips Oct. 21 A$1.76/share record for stock. Beijing ministry of commerce announced over Christmas break that 1H 2011 rare earths export quota will be 14,446 tons, 35% cut on 1H10; such announcements from China, which produces more than 90% of world's rare earths, normally drive jumps in Lynas shares, although worth noting that the latest cut brings export run rate roughly level with 2010's 30,259 tons total. (david.fickling@dowjones.com)

Food prices globally are rising to dangerous levels. There is talk of a coming crisis

Reuters Breakingviews
Global Food Prices in 2011 Face Perilous Rise

Food prices globally are rising to dangerous levels. There is talk of a coming crisis, like the ones that produced riots around the world in 2008 and 1974. Many of the ingredients of a disaster are present, but governments can stop the problem before it causes too much damage.

A warning sign is the price of traded staples like wheat, corn and rice. Prices shot up in 2010, soaring 26 percent from June to November and brushing the peaks of 2008, according to the Food Price Index kept by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. That hits poor countries that import much of their food, including the Philippines, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan.

High prices deprive the poor, who already spend as much as half of their income on food. The market still clears, but at a riot-inducing high price. In India, where the cost of onions has in the past led to the upending of governments, prices of the good have again skyrocketed.

For most big countries, food prices are a domestic affair. Just 12 percent of cereals produced are traded across borders. In countries that grow their own, like China, Russia and India, buyers often pay prices set by the government that have little link to global markets. Yet these nations are suffering, too.

China, which only really uses global markets for soybeans, is fretting over soaring shop prices for goods as diverse as pork and seaweed. In India, a fifth of the population is undernourished, according to the United Nations. Both countries have their own issues; for instance, in India, awful infrastructure means a third of produce spoils before it reaches the market. But something is clearly making the problem worse.

It isn’t shortages. True, demand for staple grains is predicted to rise 2 percent in 2011, even as production falls 4 percent. But grain reserves run to almost 17 percent of total use, according to Rabobank, which is about the level generally seen as a sensible buffer.

Nor are the main problems population trends or changing eating habits in developing markets. That extra demand may be making the world a bit more crisis-prone, but more productive, mechanized farming methods in China, India and Africa have potential to create some slack.

The main cause looks to be too much money. Governments have effectively printed the stuff to help their economies recover.

This has created two side effects. First, investors have bought exposure to commodities as an economic hedge. Second, the price of foodstuffs has been bid up as low interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of hoarding them — especially in China, where the money supply grew almost 20 percent in 2010.

Whether those high prices turn into a crisis depends on two things. First, there are short-sighted policy responses. Food producers often ban exports when they fear shortages or price spikes are coming.

Sometimes they are right to worry. Russia’s recent droughts have left it with a genuine wheat shortfall. And India has just banned the export of onions to address the latest flare-up.

But India also introduced a rice export ban in 2007 when it still had a sizable surplus, helping to double the world price. By 2008, more than 30 countries had some kind of controls in place. Export bans often cause bubbles abroad; they also stop farmers from benefiting from high prices that would get them growing more.

The second flash point is the price of oil. That increases transport costs for food. But it also encourages politicians to divert grains into biofuels, which become competitive when oil hits $60 a barrel.

The average oil price in 2011 is forecast at $84, according to a Reuters poll. The United States, which supplies two-thirds of the world’s corn exports, diverted huge amounts into biofuel in the run-up to the 2008 crisis, causing 70 percent of the rise in corn prices, according to the International Monetary Fund. That distortion was passed straight onto the world’s poor.

Food riots in 2011 are possible, but not inevitable. Granted, the world will have to get used to more food scares as the population expands and the diets of the poor get richer. But the moment when humanity outgrows the earth is thankfully not yet here. Cool-headed policies can still prevent a real crisis. JOHN FOLEY

Farmers Almanac-2011 Winter Outlook – The Wait is Over!

by Caleb Weatherbee | Sunday, August 29th, 2010 | From: Weather

The suspense is finally over. The 2011 Farmers’ Almanac is on shelves now, and our much-awaited long-range forecast for the coming year is no longer a secret. Last year, the Farmers’ Almanac predicted that February would bring widespread snowfall, including many blizzards. That prediction proved all too accurate, with snow blanketing states as far south as Florida and a beast of a storm – dubbed “Snowmageddon” by President Obama – shutting entire cities down throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

So what’s in store for the coming winter?

(The following overview is for the United States. To read our predictions for Canada, click here).
2010/11 Farmers' Almanac Winter Outlook Map (United States)

2010/11 Farmers' Almanac Winter Outlook Map (United States)

For the coming year, the Farmers’ Almanac predicts that Old Man Winter will exhibit a “split personality.” The eastern third of the country, (New England down to Florida and as far west as the lower Ohio River and Mississippi River Valley), will experience colder-than-normal winter temperatures. Across New England, where relatively balmy temperatures prevailed during the winter of 2009–2010, the upcoming winter will be the equivalent of a cold slap in the face, as we forecast much colder-than-normal temperatures.

Meanwhile, for the Western States, milder-than-normal winter temperatures are expected. They will spread from the Pacific Coast inland as far as the Rockies and the western Great Plains. Across the nation’s midsection, near-normal winter temperatures are anticipated.

In terms of precipitation, three storm tracks are expected to predominate during this upcoming winter season. One will be across the Gulf Coast and Southeast, delivering copious amounts of precipitation from lower Texas across the South (Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia) into the Mid-Atlantic region. A second storm track will be oriented across southwestern Canada into the Great Lakes, producing a procession of fast-moving “Alberta Clipper” systems that will bring snowier-than-normal conditions to parts of the Northern and Central Plains, and to the Ohio River and Great Lakes region. As these clipper systems move off the Atlantic Coast, colder-than normal conditions will move into much of the East. Disturbances sweeping in from the Pacific are expected to bring above-normal precipitation to parts of the Pacific Northwest.

All things considered, when comparisons to last year are made, we believe that for most, it will turn out to be a “kinder and gentler” winter overall.

For a more detailed forecast for your region, keep your eye on our long-range forecast, or pick up a copy of the 2011 Farmers’ Almanac, in stores now.

US Confidence & Real Estate Prices Fall

U.S. Economy: Confidence Falls on Concern Over Jobs
By Timothy R. Homan and Bob Willis - Dec 29, 2010 5:41 AM GMT+0800

Dec. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Home prices dropped more than forecast in October, a sign housing will remain a weak link as the U.S. recovery accelerates into the new year. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values fell 0.8 percent from October 2009, the biggest year-over-year decline since December 2009, the group said today in New York. Bloomberg's Jon Erlichman reports. (Source: Bloomberg)
Hugh Johnson Interview

Play Video

Dec. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Hugh Johnson, chairman of Hugh Johnson Advisors LLC, talks about the outlook for the U.S. housing market after the S&P/Case-Shiller index showed prices dropped more than forecast in October. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values fell 0.8 percent from October 2009, the biggest year-over-year decline since December 2009, the group said today in New York. Johnson speaks with Carol Massar on Bloomberg Television's "In the Loop." (Source: Bloomberg)

Confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly fell in December, restrained by concern that jobs will remain scarce in 2011.

The Conference Board’s confidence index unexpectedly fell to 52.5, lower than the most pessimistic forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, figures from the New York-based research group showed today. Another report showed home values dropped more than economists projected.

The loss of confidence is at odds with a report from the University of Michigan that showed sentiment improved to a six- month high in December, and with data showing holiday spending posted the biggest gain in five years. Federal Reserve policy makers this month said “depressed” housing and high unemployment remained constraints on consumer spending, supporting their plans to expand record monetary stimulus.

“We should watch what consumers do and not what they say,” said Omair Sharif, an economist at RBS Securities Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut. “If you looked at the confidence data you wouldn’t have looked for the pace of spending to accelerate as much as it has. Consumers are still very cautious and very nervous about where the labor market is headed.”

Stocks rose, led by rising shares of commodity producers as energy and metal prices climbed. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index increased 0.1 percent to 1,258.51 at the 4 p.m. close in New York. Treasury securities fell, pushing the yield in the benchmark 10-year note up to 3.49 percent from 3.33 percent late yesterday.

Rising Sales

Retailers’ 2010 holiday sales jumped 5.5 percent for the best performance since 2005, said MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, which measures retail sales by all payment forms. That compared with a 4.1 percent gain a year earlier. The numbers include Internet sales and exclude automobile purchases.

The median forecast for confidence, based on a survey of 61 economists, projected confidence would increase to 56.3. The Conference Board revised the November figure to 54.3 from a previous estimate of 54.1. Projections ranged from 53 to 60. The index averaged 96.8 during the last economic expansion that ended in December 2007.

Today’s report stands in contrast to preliminary figures from Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan which showed sentiment climbed this month as the share of Americans citing an improvement in current conditions climbed to the highest level since January 2008.

Drop ‘Surprising’

“The fact confidence moved lower is a bit surprising given the other data we have observed for the month,” said Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist at Barclays Capital Inc. in New York. “Month-to-month changes in confidence are not well correlated with those in spending. Reports from retailers as well as data on spending have been upbeat. We would give those more weight.”

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values fell 0.8 percent in October from the same month in 2009, the biggest year-over-year decline since December of last year, the group said today. The decrease exceeded the 0.2 percent drop projected by the median forecast of economists surveyed.

“Despite the fact that housing will remain at pretty low levels through next year, economic growth in general will be fairly robust,” Maki said on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Pulse” with Pimm Fox. Maki said he expected growth in a range of 3 percent to 3.5 percent next year.

Home Values

The home-price gauge fell 1 percent in October from the prior month after adjusting for seasonal variations, matching September’s drop which was larger than previously estimated.

Eighteen of 20 cities showed a decrease in prices in October, led by a 2.1 percent drop in Atlanta, and decreases of 1.8 percent each in Chicago and Minneapolis. Denver and Washington were the only two that posted gains.

Six markets, including Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Seattle, Tampa and Portland, Oregon, reached their lowest levels in October since prices started to retreat in 2006.

“The double-dip is almost here,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P. Sales aren’t “giving any sense of optimism.”

According to the Conference Board, the share of consumers who said jobs are hard to get increased to the highest level since February.

Those expecting more jobs to become available in the next six months reached the lowest level since July, while the proportion who expected their incomes to rise over the next six months also fell.

Jobs Gains

Employers added 951,000 workers to payrolls in the first 11 months of the year, according to figures from the Labor Department. December data are due Jan. 7.

The gains haven’t been large enough to reduce unemployment, which was at 9.8 percent last month after finishing 2009 at 10 percent.

President Barack Obama on Dec. 17 signed into law an $858 billion bill that extends for two years Bush-era tax cuts for all income levels, continues expanded jobless insurance benefits to the long-term unemployed for 13 months and reduces payroll taxes during 2011.

Some Americans are more willing to make big-ticket purchases. Car sales in November rose to a 12.26 million unit pace, the highest since the government’s cash-for-clunkers program in August 2009, industry data showed this month. Demand over the past three months is the strongest in two years.

“We have a high degree of confidence that 2011 is going to be a stronger sales year,” George Pipas, Ford Motor Co.’s sales analyst, said in a Dec. 20 briefing with reporters in Dearborn, Michigan, where the company is based. “We’re a whole lot better off than we were a year ago.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Timothy R. Homan in Washington at thoman1@bloomberg.net; Bob Willis in Washington at bwillis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz cwellisz@bloomberg.net

Monday, December 27, 2010

ISI Index beats 10 day Mvg. avg.

ISEE
ISEE 143 12/27/2010
10-Day Moving Average 141 12/13/2010-12/27/2010
20-Day Moving Average 145 11/29/2010-12/27/2010
50-Day Moving Average 132 10/15/2010-12/27/2010
52-Week High 230 12/10/2010
52-Week Low 59 5/7/2010
View/Export All Historical Data

Surfer Paints His Perfect Wave


Brook Meidinger is quiet and reserved. He's soft-spoken, maybe even a little shy.

But his paintings are quite the opposite. The images scream with vivid colors of Bali sunsets and perfect barrel waves glowing in the mid-day sun.

Meidinger, 33, a Santa Cruz native who splits his time between the tropical islands of Bali and his East-side home here, is back in town and can be spotted almost daily selling his vibrant paintings near Twin Lakes State Beach in Santa Cruz.

His art is also on display in the Bagelry shops in Santa Cruz and Soquel, a deal his dad helped him set up, he said.

This past week, he stood under the open truck of his minivan parked by the beach, protecting himself from the afternoon rain. A steady stream of cars cruised past, but several pulled over to examine the paintings closer.

Meidinger's found a way to combine two of his passions, surfing and art, in a relaxed lifestyle that seems to suit him.

The surfing began first, more than 20 years ago. It was while working at NHS printing skateboards that Meidinger first began to paint.

"I started painting with my fingers on cardboard with bright skateboard ink," he said.

And very quickly he learned that his work was popular.

"Friends at work were wanting to buy them from me," he said. "I started painting more of them, and people bought them."

It was during his first trip to Bali in 2000 that he picked up brushes and canvas to pursue his new passion. Inspired by the world-famous G-Land surf spot in East Java, he painted the mesmerizing barrel waves.

He brought the canvases back with him to Santa Cruz and found a market happy to snap them up.

A year later, he quit his job and moved to Bali. He stayed for several months, and returned home with more than 30 paintings. Each year, he progressively brought home and sold more work. When he returned to Santa Cruz, earlier this month, he brought back 300 pieces.

He'll be in and around Santa Cruz selling his work until February, when he will return to Bali, where he built a home with three rental units high on a cliff overlooking the ocean.

"I rent out three rooms," he said. "I do all my painting on the balcony there overlooking the waves."

Santa Cruz native's vivid paintings are on display at Bagelry locations and from a van parked on East Cliff.And in the evenings he surfs while the sun sets.

"That's my favorite time to surf," he said. " I get the full sunset every day. I'm pretty much the last guy surfing every night."

For Meidinger, it's clearly all about the waves.

"It's the perfect tube," he said as he points at one of his paintings. "It's all tied together. The perfect spot with all the tubing waves. That's my main goal of the day — to see the pipe as many times as possible."

And that goes for both in the water and on canvas.

Find Brook Meidinger's art at all three local Bagelry locations. He can be reached at 831-713-0655.

Taiwanese tourist arrivals in Bali increase 6.05%

Taiwanese tourist arrivals in Bali increase 6.05%
วันอาทิตย์ ที่ 26 ธ.ค. 2553
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Denpasar, Bali, Dec 26 (ANTARA) - The number of Taiwanese tourists arriving in Bali in the January - October 2010 period increased 6.05 percent to 109,251 from 103.019 in the same period a year earlier, a statistics official said.

"They mostly arrived through Bali`s Ngurah Rai airport a board an airplane flying them directly from their country. We only have a record of one Taiwanese arriving through a seaport using an excursion ship," Head of Bali`s Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS), I Gede Suarsa, said here on Sunday.

He said that Taiwanese tourists who came to enjoy the natural beauty of Bali and its arts diversity in 2009 totaled 111,146, which was a drop of eight percent from those in the same period in 2008.

"The improvement of the Taiwanese economy is expected to boost the arrivals of Taiwanese tourists in Bali in the future," he said.

Taiwan is the fifth biggest foreign tourist contributor to Indonesia. It is able to contribute 5.08 percent of the total foreign tourist arrivals in the January - October 2010 period which stood at 2,149,020, he said. (ANTARA)

http://www.mcot.net/cfcustom/cache_page/148044.html

Two-thirds of Australians oppose the Singapore Stock Exchange's proposed takeover of the Australian Stock Exchange

AUSTRALIA: , The
Sydney Morning Herald reports. The report cited a poll by UMR Research
which showed 62% of Labor voters and 71% of opposition Coalition
supporters oppose the venture, an even higher level than the 65% of
Greens opponents. The result may cast deeper doubt over the chances of
Parliament giving the approval required if the government does seek the
necessary regulatory change to lift the 15% ownership cap on the ASX,
the report says.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Analysis: Indonesia: Year in review

Josh Franken, Oxford Business Group | Mon, 12/27/2010 11:00 AM |
As the year comes to a close, Indonesia can look back on 2010 with no small degree of satisfaction. The economy is performing well, foreign investment is on the rise and there is continued political stability. However, concerns linger over rising inflation and the sustainability of the current growth cycle.

Late into the last month of 2010, all indicators were that the targets set by the government for economic development would be met, with GDP on track to expand by 6 percent or more.

Recognition of this growth, and the underlying strength of the economy came late in the year, with Moody’s Investors Service announcing it was considering upgrading Indonesia’s credit ratings, having already issued a positive outlook note for the government’s Ba2 foreign and local-currency bond ratings in June. A further ratings hike would take Indonesia close to being an investment grade economy, reflecting the health of country’s macroeconomic balances and its ability to withstand localized or international shocks.

Though nowhere near to being classified as a shock, Indonesia’s creeping inflation remained an unwelcome reality in 2010. According to figures issued by Bank Indonesia in late December, year end inflation could reach 6.5 percent, far higher than the 2.78 percent recorded in 2009. Having climbed steadily throughout the year, the consumer prices rises reached 6.33 percent as of the end of November, prompting central bank deputy governor Hartadi A Sarwono to say further expected increases in the cost of staples such as palm oil and rice could push inflation higher still.

Though core inflation, which excludes items such as food, stood at 4.31 percent at the end of November, rising consumer demand in a heating economy could see this measure spike, which in turn could force Bank Indonesia’s hand on interest rates. Hartadi told journalists on Dec. 22 that if core inflation topped 5 percent the central bank would have no alternative but to raise rates.

Should Bank Indonesia move, it will be the first time since August 2009 that there has been any change from the 6.5 percent the central bank set as its prime lending rate, a record low for the country.

While Bank Indonesia has kept its own rates at record lows, not all the benefits of this policy have been passed on to the economy, with banks holding their lending rates far above those of the central bank. As the year closed, most lenders were charging between 13 and 14 percent, a rate many analysts felt was up to 4 percent above what would best serve to maintain and indeed increase economic growth in 2011 and beyond.

Up to the end of September, the flow of capital into the economy showed no sign of abating, with foreign direct investment totaling US$6.7 billion, well up on the $1.9 billion for the first nine months of 2009. Meanwhile, the tide of portfolio capital hit $14.45 billion, more than $4 billion above the level for the same period last year.

Most of that $14.4 billion was directed towards either government bonds, which attracted some $10 billion, or to Bank Indonesia’s SBI debt papers, which drew a further $2.37 billion, the balance going into shares on the stock exchange.

That inward flow of investment, combined with the exchange’s appeal to locals, saw the market’s main index up by some 40 percent as the year closed, making the Indonesian exchange one of the most active and best performers worldwide in 2010. Though some experts forecast there will be a slowing of activity and earnings next year, the projection of a further 15 percent or more increase is still a strong one, and well over the 6.3 percent growth forecast for GDP as a whole.

Looking ahead, Indonesia will face a number of challenges going into the new year, with inflation being one of the main concerns. Though the government agreed in mid December to defer reductions on fuel subsidies, price support for petrol will be scaled back starting in March, a move that will both ease pressure on the budget but could also push up inflation. Combined with the ever present threat that climatic conditions could again hit crops, as happened in mid 2010, and global pressures on commodities could increase, there is a degree of uncertainty over next year’s inflation forecasts.

Another threat to Indonesia is the possibility of the global economy, or at least the economies of some of Jakarta’s larger trading partners, slipping back into recession or even just slowing down a gear. With the US economy still recovering from the 2008 economic meltdown, and the recent uncertainty over the fiscal health of the European periphery there is the risk of a further bout of instability. While Indonesia was able to comfortably ride out the last round of stormy economic weather, it will be hoping its there aren’t too many clouds on the international horizon in 2011.

Building Freeze Urged to Dampen Bali’s Hotel Boom

Made Arya Kencana | December 26, 2010

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londoedan
9:39am Dec 27, 2010

Those with lot's of money will find a way to get by this new law just the way to make it a little more expensive. Also more ways for the corrupt government officals to line their pockets. Oh well... business as usual in Indonesia.

* 1

Denpasar. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is pushing for a moratorium on the construction of new hotels in Bali, saying the resort island has almost 10,000 rooms it doesn’t need.

Hengky Hermantoro, head of the ministry’s tourism research and development center, said there were a total of 55,000 rooms in hotels, villas and backpacker’s inns across the island. Ideally, he added, Bali should have only 45,200 rooms.

“That means Bali has 9,800 more rooms than it reasonably needs,” Hengky said at a year-end tourism discussion in Denpasar on Sunday.

Though more lodging areas are needed to cater to the growing number of tourists in southern Bali — such as in Nusa Dua, Kuta and Sanur — these are only used during peak seasons, he said. In the east, north and west of the island, where business is less brisk, many hotel rooms sit unused for most of the year.

“Hotels [in the south] frequently experience full occupancy during the year-end holidays, but hotels in other parts remain empty,” Hengky said. “That’s because tourist sites haven’t been equitably developed in those areas.”

He said tourism authorities should consider a five-year building freeze so facilities would not be wasted and space could be used more efficiently.

I Gede Pitana Brahmananda, head of the ministry’s culture and tourism resources unit, said unbridled development would edge out the green spaces for which the island was famous. He said the moratorium should be imposed in the southern districts of Badung, Denpasar and Gianyar. Poor spatial planning in these areas has lead to chronic traffic jams, he added.

“If authorities fail to issue a regulation or bylaw [to enforce the moratorium], even the governor won’t have the legal power to stop the development of hotels,” Pitana said.

“This is to ensure that the development of hotels in Bali doesn’t outpace the development of supporting infrastructure such as roads,” he added.

Perry Markus, secretary general of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association’s (PHRI) Bali chapter, also decried the mushrooming of commercial properties in Bali.

“Each year, there are an estimated 2,000 rooms added to existing accommodations on the island,” he said. “This figure doesn’t include those illegal holiday villas that are constantly being built.”

At least three hotels are scheduled to begin construction next year, according to Putu Budiasa, head of the tourism agency in Denpasar. Two of these hotels will be built in Sanur and one in downtown Denpasar.

“As long as the property developers meet all the administrative and management requirements, they’re bound to get the go-ahead for construction,” Putu said.

Foreign investment in Bali in the first half of this year doubled to Rp 4.2 trillion ($466 million) from the same period last year, with most of the capital going to hotel development, the Bali Investment Coordinating Board (BPMD) said.

Exploring Indonesia's islands by boat



Exploring Indonesia's islands by boat

Like little Jackie Paper, I've come on a boat to a land of dragons. Our guide, a man who calls himself Brother Lemon, leads the way up a sloping savanna to a prehistoric view.

"Welcome to our Jurassic Park," says Brother Lemon. The grassy hills roll to the horizon, and though there's no herd of brontosauruses in the distance, the scattered palms topped by round moppish tufts do vaguely resemble something from a Dr Seuss book. I'm half expecting a sabre-toothed Cat in the Hat to jump out of the bushes.

There are dragons here on Indonesia's Rinca Island - actual dragons, with forked tongues and fearsome claws - for this is the only place on Earth where the Komodo dragon, the world's biggest lizard, roams free. We're in a part of the Indonesian archipelago called Nusa Tenggara, or the Lesser Sunda Islands, where Komodo National Park provides sanctuary for a beast that, if it did not occur in nature, may well have been invented by a children's author with a streak of the macabre.

We spot the dragons slinking their way through the grass and forests, some of them approaching three metres from head to tail. Slothful but able to sprint short distances, albeit with an exceedingly awkward gait, they're hardly shy of humans. It's wise not to get too close, however. The Komodo dragon subsists mainly on scraps and carrion, plus the occasional whole goat or deer, and its saliva is so septic that its unfortunate prey, once bitten, dies slowly of a blood infection. When it's done swallowing the poor thing in huge chunks, it vomits the hair and horns in a smelly mess.

There are only a few thousand Komodo dragons left in the world, and nearly all of them live here, an area that's a dreamland for wildlife nuts, both above ground and underwater. Off the coasts, the tides between the Flores Sea to the north and the Sawu Sea to the south squeeze through the nearby straits, creating currents that make the corals, many of them shallow enough for snorkellers, teem with sea life.

We almost didn't make it here, for had we been more cautious travellers, we'd probably have taken a pass on this entire journey. In the town of Labuan Bajo, on the western edge of Flores, we met a man named Vigo, a good salesman with a few too many ready answers to every question. Vigo promised us a four-day, three-night live-aboard boat trip from east to west, starting here in Flores and ending in Lombok, where, on the morning of the fourth day, a bus would be waiting to drive us across the island to the Bali ferry.

Included in the package would be three meals a day, cooked up by the boat's own chef, daily stops for snorkelling and visits to the dragon sanctuaries of Rinca and the nearby Komodo Island - the highlights of Nusa Tenggara, in other words, all for about US$164 (Dh600) per person. I agreed with my co-travellers, an American-Irish couple, that this seemed the best way to reach Lombok and the delights of Bali, for the boat would bypass the arduous 11-hour bus journey across Sumbawa Island.

The Bali-Flores boat route has become popular in recent years as Flores and Komodo National Park have risen to must-sees on the Indonesia circuit. Flores natives like Vigo have capitalised accordingly, providing transport options - some cheap, some dear - in a place where tourism is still in its infancy. In Labuan Bajo, real estate prices have gone through the roof. "Ten years ago, land sold for 500,000 rupiah [Dh202] per square metre," Vigo told me. "Now it's 2.5 million [Dh1,006] per square metre."

We were sold on Vigo's boat offer - or so I thought, until my companions went to check their e-mail and came back shaking their heads.

In parts of the world where tourism is still a fresh commodity, a cautious traveller should beware of fly-by-night operations, especially where personal safety is concerned. Apparently, they'd found a post about Vigo and his company on the Lonely Planet message board, calling him a schemer and a liar while raising concerns about the safety of his boats. "This is an outfit you want to avoid," the post says, or rather screams, since it's written in all caps. Next page

http://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/travel/exploring-indonesias-islands-by-boat

Schapelle Corby dances in church in Bali



Schapelle Corby

Schapelle Corby joins in a Christmas Day service in her Bali jail . Picture: Bintoro Lukman S Source: Herald Sun

LOOKING more relaxed and happy than she has for a long time, Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby attended a Christmas church service and celebration inside her Bali jail and said her Christmas wish was for Santa Claus to be alive.

Spending her seventh Christmas behind bars, the 33-year-old sang, danced and prayed during the Christmas Eve service conducted by the jail's governor Siswanto, who is also a Christian pastor.

She appeared more relaxed and, in contrast to her normal fear of cameras, appeared less concerned by having her photograph taken.

Suggestions that Corby could be freed for Christmas were denied by Indonesian authorities. She is almost certain, however, to be granted a cut of one month and 15 days to her sentence as part of the annual Christmas prison remissions.

She was originally jailed for 20 years.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/schapelle-corby-dances-in-church-in-bali/story-e6frf7l6-1225976220923

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Vira Bali Hotel

Boutique Hotel Bali

The Vira Bali Hotel is a luxury four-star boutique Hotel Bali at the famous area of Jalan Kartika Plaza South Kuta Beach, Tuban – Kuta Bali. a short drive from Ngurah Rai International airport

The Vira Bali Hotel offer unique, authentic experiences in their chic, contemporary boutique hotel, combines with the convenience of a central location. This chic hotel is Only a walking distance from Bali’s iconic landmarks: the beachfront Discovery Shopping Mall, Kuta Square shopping arcade and markets, Waterbom Park and Hard Rock Café. Great shopping, dining and nightlife venues are on your doorstep, not to mention the magic of Bali's beaches. To soak up the tropical sun and experience the splendors of a Bali sunset, you can choose between the quiet and family-friendly South Kuta Beach just 100 meters away, or join the surfers at bustling Kuta Beach a few hundred meters along the sand.

The Vira Bali Boutique Hotel In Tuban Kuta Bali is the ideal travel getaway for a relaxing vacation. Opened in 2004 with 56 rooms and suites, it offers a cozy alternative to the much larger properties nearby. The contemporary minimalist design of the four-storey hotel Bali Accommodation is enhanced by warm Balinese hospitality and the facilities and services of a well-appointed four-star property With Personalized Service.

Luxury Hotel Bali


Swimming pool, 4 Bedrooms al en suite with Bathrooms, ( maid/ security room & bathroom, covered parking space are handled in the area of by Office Management) , Service room, Full furnished, 20 minutes from Airport and 35 minutes to Seminyak, 10 minutes from Echo Beach, 40 minutes from Denpasar or Sanur.

3 level ( floors)
2 Bedroom upstairs, 2 Bedrooms ground level, 1 additional Bedroom downstairs and spacious storage
All Bathrooms with shower
Kitchen, Dining room and swimming pool on ground level
7 Air-conditions available, 1 Storage room, No telephone line, No Generator, Gas hot water system for each bedroom Deep well. The villa is fronted by a small river, Hills and overlooking green zone view, Spacious living/ dining/ entertainment.

Electricity power: 10, 600 Kwh,

Negara Asal: Indonesia
Harga: USD. 760.000,-/IDR. 7,6 Milyar
Jumlah: Luxury Villas with Hotel management
Kemas & Pengiriman: 4 Large Bedrooms + Ensuite with Bathrooms

Friday, December 24, 2010

Paradiso Hotel Bali

Kuta Paradiso Hotel

Kute paradiso hotel bali is a four-story hotel with a total of 243 rooms occupancy rooms. Quite a lot is not it? So for those of you who want to vacation with your family or group would not have to worry about lack of room in this hotel. In terms of room facilities, of course you will be able to enjoy the bed room which is equipped with air conditioning, safe deposit box, cable TV, shower, bath, and hair dryer. For service, you do not need to worry ... because the 24-hour room service will always be able to serve you if you need service one time a sudden.

For hotel facilities, you will be able to enjoy the swimming pool, coffee shop, laundry, mini store, even for meeting rooms. This hotel can be categorized basically already very complete. Make you want to exercise you do not need to worry because there is room equipped gym with sauna and massage spa to refresh your body fitness. In terms of security, you will also feel comfortable because of the security at the hotel is reasonably assured for every guest. Just to give advice, it helps if you want to choose to stay at this hotel, you should book far in advance. Because sometimes when you arrive and check in directly at the hotel you will be given a price that is sometimes more expensive than you previously suspected. To spend the night at this hotel you will be charged at hotels, at least about Rp 1,000,000. If you feel this is very expensive .... try some other low-cost hotel options in Denpasar. But if you want to be more thrifty in enjoying the good does Bali tour packages, try to see some of the menu tour packages that we try to offer .... for the price,,,, can be compared with each other ...

Risata Hotel Bali


Risata hotel bali captures the spirit of a traditional village where the time of day is of no importance. It is a property where every holiday or business need is taken care of with a gracious smile and service that comes from the heart.

A well-appointed collection of rooms and suites are scattered across a tropically landscaped garden in clusters linked by a winding pathway. Each room features modern home comforts together with a private balcony or terrace that embraces the natural greenery of the outdoors

* Air-Conditioning
* Smoke Detector
* Bathtub
* Shower
* Hot & Cold Water
* Hairdryer
* Fridge
* Satellite Flat Screen Television
* Safety Deposit Box
* Tea & Coffee Making Facilities
* IDD Telephone
* Spacious Balcony / Terrace (Deluxe Room)


Suite Facilities

* Living Room & Sofa Bed
* Small Kitchenette & Large Fridge
* Chinaware & Cutlery
* Microwave
* Toaster
* Spacious Balcony / Terrace

Bali Mandira Hotel & Spa

Pool View -  Bali Mandira Hotel & Spa

Bali mandira hotel and spa is only 6 kilometer from bali international airport and 9 kilometers from the capital city,denpasar.the hotel is facing the ocean with its temptig beach

Bali Budget Hotels

Budget Hotels Bali Sanur Beach

Finding a Bali budget hotel is not that hard finding the best budget accomodations will not be easy as most time they are small litle gems in the rough like the Semawang Beach Hotel located a very short walk to the beach these rooms go for around $20 USD a night and if you are looking to stay for a long time they are very wiling to lower the rates even further however if you had them do that you would probbly start to feel guilty for taking advantage of these very nice people. I like bathrooms with neat features, I guess becuase it is the room that ofers the most adventure possibilities and this Bali budget accommodation has a real neat setup they don't have interior walls just shower curtains that you can open. If you were a couple on your honneymoon or on a romantic triste this would be a fun place to stay. Bali Photos Indonesia

 Sanur Beach Accomodations budget hotels

This Bali budget accomodation is in a very good location Quiet yet close to all the shopping and restaurants near the Sanur Beach Hotel. They have lots of places to sit outside in the shade or in the sun up to you. They have a pocket pool, deep but not big, just right for jumping in and cooling off. The pool is located on the 3rd floor so it offers some views of the surronding area which has lots of lush foilage and Balinese art.

Mentari Sanur Hotel Bali

Mentari Sanur Hotel Bali, Bali, Indonesia - Photo

The hotel's Tunjung Restaurant is a place to eat from menu with a combination of continental and traditional Balinese. Or guests might opt to just sit down and relax in the lounge while drinking your favorites from the bar. The staff takes great pride and pleasure in looking after all their guests - after all hospitality is an important part of Balinese tradition. A swimming pool is located next to the hotel's Tunjung restaurant, which makes it convenient to leisurely order a thirst-quenching drink or a tasty snack.

PROPERTY AMENITIES
* Complimentary Breakfast
* Wake Up Service
* Massage Room
* Airport Shuttle
* Concierge
* Laundry Facilitie
* Room Service
* Restaurant
* Business Center
* Indoor Pool
* Spa
* Dry Cleaning Service

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Angkasa Pura I ready to tender Bali airport expansion

Nani Afrida, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 12/23/2010 12:20 PM | Business
A | A | A |

State airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I is readying to expand Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, saying it will organize a tender for the first phase of the project soon.

The expansion has been estimated to require up to Rp 1.9 trillion (US$ 210 billion) in investment and is scheduled for completion by 2013.

“The project will be separated into four phases. We are ready to commence the first phase, disbursing Rp 227.7 billion in investment,” Angkasa Pura I planning director Yuda Prana Sugarda said in Jakarta on Wednesday, adding that during the first phase the company would construct access roads and substitute buildings.

The second phase will require Rp 344 billion, while the third and fourth phases will cost Rp 1.2 trillion and Rp 100 billion, he said.

Of this amount, up to Rp 1.2 trillion will be financed by the state and the government investment center, involving three state banks — Mandiri, BNI and BRI. The remainder will be taken from the company’s cash reserves.

According to an earlier report, under the planned expansion Angkasa Pura would switch the domestic and international terminals to cope with an increase in international passengers.

The new international terminal would also be expanded to cover 120,000 square meters.

The management also plans to build a 39,000-square-meter three-story parking with room for up to 1,500 vehicles.

By 2013, the airport’s terminals will cover 190,000 square meters and be able to serve up to 20 million passengers a year.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/12/23/angkasa-pura-i-ready-tender-bali-airport-expansion.html

Indonesia Seeks Unesco Stamp for Bali Peak and Java Caves

December 22, 2010
Denpasar. The government has proposed that the Mount Batur National Park in Bangli district, Bali, be incorporated into Unesco’s Global Geoparks Network.

A geopark is defined by the UN body as “a territory encompassing one or more sites of scientific importance, not only for geological reasons but also by virtue of its archeological, ecological or cultural value.”

Achyaruddin, promotions director for the Culture and Tourism Ministry, said on Wednesday that getting Mount Batur recognized as a geopark would help boost visitor numbers to the area.

“We have two sites in the country — Mount Batur and Pacitan — that we’ve already proposed to Unesco for inclusion into the Global Geoparks Network,” he said.

Batur is an active volcano that sits in the middle of two concentric calderas in northeast Bali. The calderas are also home to traditional villages that rely on tourism as a key source for revenue.

The East Java district of Pacitan, meanwhile, is renowned for its intricate network of coastal caves, as well as for its location along the Thousand Peaks mountain range that runs lengthwise across much of Java.

Achyaruddin said the advantages of joining the geoparks network included international promotion through the Unesco banner, thus obviating the need to shell out much funding for tourism promotion.

“Once a national geopark has formally gone international in the respects of conservation, education and tourism, it can attract more foreign investors,” he said.

He added the ministry believed Batur and the subdistrict of Kintamani in which it was located should be recognized as a geopark because of the “very enchanting mountain range and lakes that can potentially be developed as a global geopark tourist site.”

“And because it’s in Bali, one of the world’s leading tourism destinations, it’s therefore already very accessible to foreign tourists.”

Kintamani subdistrict will officially be designated a national geopark by the government in January, prior to an assessment in July of its qualifications for entry in the Global Geoparks Network.

Made Ginayar, the Bangli district head, said his administration would back the park’s nomination as part of its five-year tourism development plan.

Only two Southeast Asian locations — Malaysia’s Langkawi Geopark and Vietnam’s Dong Van Karst Geopark — are currently on the Unesco list.



Antara
http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/indonesia-seeks-unesco-stamp-for-bali-peak-and-java-caves/413179

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Airlines add 320 flights for holidays

Nani Afrida, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 12/22/2010 10:36 AM

Banking on a lucrative holiday season, Indonesian airlines have scheduled an extra 320 flights, with many of those serving popular tourist destinations, particularly Bali.

“Several airlines have informed us that they will run additional flights to serve more passengers during the Christmas and New Year period,” Tri Sunoko, the president director of state airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II, said on Tuesday.

The airlines include national carrier PT Garuda Indonesia, AirAsia and Mandala Airlines.

Garuda, Sunoko said, would offer 16 additional flights between Jakarta and Denpasar, two more flights to Surabaya and 46 more flights to Pontianak.

AirAsia will have 144 extra flights to Denpasar, 16 more to Singapore, and Mandala Airlines will have 16 additional flights to Hong Kong, Sunoko said.

AirAsia said Tuesday that the company would add 27,000 seats during the year-end holidays to accommodate the high number of passengers.

“The majority of additional seats are for the Denpasar route because many passengers celebrate Christmas and New Year in Bali,” AirAsia corporate manager Audrey Progastama was quoted as saying by new portal kompas.com.

Audrey said the airline added 14,220 seats for the Jakarta-Denpasar route, 5,940 seats for the Jakarta-Singapore route and 6,840 seats for its Denpasar-Perth route.

“For the Jakarta-Denpasar route, we will fly seven times, up from four times, starting Dec. 17 to Jan. 8,” Audrey added.

Garuda Indonesia spokesman Pudjobroto said his company would increase flights to serve passengers celebrating Christmas and New Year.

The extra flights will begin on Dec. 23 until Jan. 3 next year.

“We will add 6,950 seats for the Jakarta-Denpasar route and 7,362 seats for the Jakarta-Singapore route,” Pudjobroto said.

The company will fly additional flights using its wide-bodied Boeing 747 and Airbus A330.

The additional flights out of Jakarta will accommodate the high number of travelers expected over the holiday period, which is predicted to grow by 15 percent or to 1.93 million from 1.67 million the previous year.

Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport serves 124,000 passengers daily.

Sunoko said Soekarno-Hatta airport would be prepared to handle the increased passenger numbers.

“We have upgraded our UPS and electricity generator to address possible electricity shortages, and added ground handling support facilities,” he said.

The airport came under criticism for a recent string of power outages that caused delays and errors.

Sunoko said his company would optimize security checks in every terminal to avoid long queues, as well as increase efficiency at the 217 check- in desks and help desks.

“We also increased parking facilities to 7,946 vehicles,” Sunoko said, adding that Angkasa Pura II had deployed 200 security officers to monitor and control security posts at Terminals IB and 2E.

The airline industry in Indonesia has grown significantly in the last five years. The Indonesia National Carrier Association (INACA) recorded that in 2009 there were 43.8 million air passengers compared to 37.4 million in 2008, an increase of 17 percent.

Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Rise Less Than Forecast

Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Rise Less Than Forecast to 4.68 Million Rate
By Bob Willis - Dec 22, 2010 11:18 PM GMT+0800


A house for sale in Hammond, Louisiana. Photographer: Derick E. Hingle/Bloomberg
IHS's Behravesh Interview on U.S. Economy, Housing


Dec. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Inc, talks about the outlook for housing and the U.S. economy. Behravesh talks with Mark Crumpton on Bloomberg Television's "Bottom Line." (Source: Bloomberg)
Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Rise Less Than Forecast


Dec. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Sales of existing homes in the U.S. rose 5.6 percent in November, less than forecast, as the industry that triggered the worst U.S. recession in seven decades struggled to recover after a government tax credit lapsed. Purchases increased to a 4.68 million annual rate, the National Association of Realtors said. Bloomberg's Michael McKee reports. (Source: Bloomberg)

Sales of existing homes rose less than forecast in November as the industry that triggered the worst U.S. recession in seven decades struggled to recover after a government tax credit lapsed.

Purchases increased 5.6 percent from the prior month to a 4.68 million annual rate, the National Association of Realtors said in Washington. Economists projected sales would rise to a 4.75 million pace, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. The median price rose 0.4 percent from a year earlier.

Previous decreases in prices and mortgage rates have made houses more affordable, which may keep supporting demand after the end of a government tax credit caused the industry to slump. At the same time, unemployment hovering near 10 percent is a reminder it will take years for housing to regain pre-recession levels.

“Housing is going to remain dead in the water through the middle of” 2011, said Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina, who forecast sales would climb to a 4.65 million pace. “As foreclosures come back on the market, that will put downward pressure on prices.”

Stocks held earlier gains after the report. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.1 percent to 1,256.13 at 10:17 a.m. in New York. The S&P Supercomposite Homebuilder Index climbed 0.4 percent to 257.56.

Less Than Forecast

Estimates of the 70 economists surveyed by Bloomberg ranged from 4.25 million to 5.2 million.

Another report today showed the U.S. economy grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the third quarter, more than previously calculated 2.5 percent gain and up from a 1.7 percent rise in the second quarter, according to figures from the Commerce Department. The advance was lower than the median forecast of economists surveyed as consumer spending was unexpectedly revised down.

Compared with November 2009, which was the peak of the tax credit’s influence, existing home sales were down 25 percent before adjusting for seasonal patterns.

Sales last month rose in all of four regions, today’s report showed, led by a 12 percent gain in the West.

The median price increased to $170,600 last month from $170,000 in November 2009.

Single-Family Sales

Purchases of single-family homes climbed 6.7 percent to a 4.15 million annual rate in November from a month earlier, the group said. Sales of condominiums and townhouses dropped 1.9 percent.

The number of previously owned homes on the market fell 4 percent to 3.71 million. At the current sales pace, it would take 9.5 months to sell those houses, compared with 10.5 months in October.

Month’s supply in the eight months to nine months range is consistent with stable home prices, the group said.

Distressed sales, which include foreclosures and short- sales in which the bank allows a home to sell for less than the full amount of the mortgage, accounted for 33 percent of total sales, about the same as in prior months.

A tax credit worth as much as $8,000 boosted sales to a two-year high 6.49 million pace in November 2009, when the incentive was originally due to expire.

The subsequent extension of the credit prompted a rebound in sales for two months through April, followed by a plunge in July to a 3.84 million rate, the weakest in a decade’s worth of record-keeping.

2011 Projection

The real-estate agents’ group projects sales for the year will drop to a 4.8 million pace, the fewest for a full year since 1997. Purchases will climb to 5.2 million in 2011, a “sustainable” pace, NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun said in a press conference.

Less costly houses, near record-low lending rates and rising earnings are among the factors now helping underpin demand. The NAR’s housing affordability index, which takes into account borrowing costs, home prices and household incomes, climbed to a record in October.

The housing market may remain a drag on growth. Foreclosure moratoriums across the country along with government investigations into faulty paperwork threaten to delay a recovery as houses slated for repossession take longer to come to market.

Joblessness is forecast to average 9.4 percent next year and mortgage rates, after reaching record lows in November, have risen on signs the economy is picking up, additional reasons why a housing recovery will take time to develop.

Even so, home sales will probably avoid setting new lows and the industry will gain momentum in 2012, according to Douglas Yearley, chief executive officer of Toll Brothers Inc., the largest U.S. luxury-home builder.

“As the economy improves, we believe our buyers are going to come right back out.” Yearley said in a Dec. 8 interview with Bloomberg Television. “It’s still a buyer’s market and you still need some incentives.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Willis in Washington at bwillis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-22/existing-u-s-home-sales-rose-less-than-economists-forecasts-for-november.html

Oil Hits 2-Year High After Supplies Drop More Than Forecast

By Mark Shenk - Dec 23, 2010 4:54 AM GMT+0800

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Oil Rises to Two-Year High on U.S. Supply Drop

An oil tanker docks near refineries at the Port of Corpus Christi in Texas. Photographer: Eddie Seal/Bloomberg

Crude oil rose to the highest level in more than two years after government reports showed that U.S. supplies dropped and the country’s economy grew more than previously estimated in the third quarter.

Stockpiles fell 5.33 million barrels to 340.7 million last week, the Energy Department said. A 3.4 million-barrel decline was forecast, according to the median of 14 responses in a Bloomberg News survey. The Commerce Department said gross domestic product expanded 2.6 percent in the third quarter, up from a previous estimate of 2.5 percent.

“Today’s crude numbers were very bullish,” said Andre Julian, chief financial officer and senior market strategist at OpVest Wealth Management in Irvine, California. “The GDP numbers point to extended growth in the U.S. Previously, we were seeing economic and demand growth in China and emerging markets, now it’s spreading here.”

Crude oil for February delivery rose 66 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $90.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since Oct. 3, 2008. Prices have climbed 14 percent this year.

Brent crude oil for February settlement advanced 45 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $93.65 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was the highest settlement price since Oct. 1, 2008.

Supplies in the week ended Dec. 17 were 6.8 percent greater than the five-year average for the period, the department said.

Gulf Coast

Stockpiles along the Gulf Coast, which holds almost half of U.S. refinery capacity, dropped 6.08 million barrels to 167.3 million. Some localities in the region levy taxes based on the amount in storage at year’s end.

“The draw is not that meaningful,” said Hamza Khan, an analyst with Schork Group Inc., a consulting company in Villanova, Pennsylvania. “The drop was largely limited to the Gulf Coast while supplies gained at Cushing. This is why the reaction was muted.”

Inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for New York futures, increased 479,000 barrels to 36.4 million, the highest level since August.

Stockpiles of distillate fuel, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, dropped 589,000 barrels to 160.7 million, the first decline in three weeks. Analysts were split over whether supplies would rise or fall. Stockpiles on the East Coast declined 1.17 million barrels to 66.3 million.

“The big drop along the East Coast was to be expected because of the cold weather,” Khan said.

Low Temperatures

Cold air has gripped the New York region since Dec. 14, when a high temperature in the mid-20s Fahrenheit (about minus 4 Celsius) was 20 degrees lower than normal. Weekend highs are expected to be in the mid-30s.

Demand for distillate fuel climbed 7.4 percent to 4.05 million barrels a day, the highest level since Nov. 5.

Heating oil for January delivery climbed 1.21 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $2.5285 a gallon in New York, the highest settlement since Oct. 3, 2008.

“We’re seeing another dramatic drop in U.S. oil storage,” said Sean Brodrick, a natural resource analyst with Weiss Research in Jupiter, Florida. “We’re seeing an increase in economic activity, which will lead to further declines and higher prices.”

Today’s Commerce Department report showed consumer spending rose at a 2.4 percent pace last quarter, the fastest since the first three months of 2007, while less than the 2.8 percent estimated last month. Spending added 1.67 percentage points to GDP from July through September.

Household spending figures for November, due tomorrow, may show a 0.5 percent gain following a 0.4 percent increase in October, according to the Bloomberg survey median.

Grinding Higher

“We’re seeing oil grind higher along with the stock market on increasing optimism about the economy,” said Bill O’Grady, chief market strategist at Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index yesterday completed its recovery from the six-month plunge that followed Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s collapse in September 2008, extending its rally from a bear-market low in March 2009 to 85 percent.

The S&P 500 Index gained 0.3 percent to 1,257.77 at 3:22 p.m. in New York and the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.2 percent to 11,554.31.

China raised gasoline and diesel prices today by less than half of what crude oil has gained in the past month. The price of gasoline will climb by as much as 4 percent to 310 yuan ($47) a metric ton and diesel by 300 yuan a ton, the National Development and Reform Commission said yesterday, the third increase this year in the second-largest oil consuming country.

‘Over the Edge’

“The inventory numbers pushed us over the edge today,” said Phil Flynn, a Chicago-based analyst and trader at PFGBest, an investment adviser. “If it were some other day, more attention would have been paid to the Chinese news, which should slow demand.”

Oil volume on the Nymex was 344,353 contracts as of 3:23 p.m. in electronic trading in New York. Volume totaled 357,619 contracts yesterday, 47 percent below the average of the past three months and the lowest level since Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving. Open interest was 1.37 million contracts.

“With this light holiday volume anything can happen,” Flynn said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Shenk in New York at mshenk1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-22/crude-oil-increases-a-fourth-day-on-u-s-economic-growth-supply-decline.html

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bali students top global results for int’l exam

Editors Note: Another reason to live in Sanur we have one of the best schools in the world


Desy Nurhayati, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar | Mon, 12/20/2010 11:40 AM | Bali
A | A | A |

Four students from Dyatmika high school in Denpasar, Bali, achieved the some of the best scores in Indonesia — and the world — on a prestigious international test.

The students won the Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards in different subjects in tests taken by students at more than 2,000 Cambridge International Centers around the globe in June.

Eleventh grader Aisha Ryannon Pagnes received the highest score in the world for the art and design test.

Tathya Yuki Abe, also an 11th grader, won awards for the highest scores in Indonesia in coordinated science and economics.

Sooji Park, currently in her second year in high school, gained the highest score in Indonesia on the travel and tourism subject test.

Karina Djaelawijaya, a 12th grader, had the best score in Indonesia for the advanced subsidiary level examination for business studies.

The exams test progress in the world’s most popular international curriculum for 14- to 16- year-old students, which is recognized by universities and employers worldwide.

Dyatmika high school was previously awarded Cambridge International Center status by the University of Cambridge in the UK.

School director Katie Jones said this was the first time the school had students whose scores were the best in the world, but the fourth time its students had achieved some of the best scores in Indonesia since it began the program seven years ago.

“It’s really amazing. We’re very proud because we received five awards in different subjects,” she said before an awards ceremony at the school on Friday.

“A wide range of subjects means that there’s a high quality in teaching and learning going on in different departments. This is wonderful for us and encouraging for parents to see that their children are responding well.”

The school offered the exam so students could use the certification that came with passing the test to apply to universities overseas.

“I have been preparing for the test for a couple of months. I studied a lot,” said double-award winner Tathya, who wants to study at a US university.

“I didn’t expect this. It’s amazing,” said Aisha.

“I studied seriously for the last one or two months before the exam. I did many business case studies in the exam,” said Karina, who also planned to study in the US.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/12/20/bali-students-top-global-results-int%E2%80%99l-exam.html

Indonesia’s economic prospect in 2011

Milan Zavadjil, Jakarta | Mon, 12/20/2010 12:27 PM | Review & Outlook
A | A | A |

The year 2011 should be another very good one for the Indonesian economy. Even against the background of a muted global recovery, we expect growth of 6.2 percent, compared with 4.5 percent in 2009 and 6 percent in 2010.

This positive scenario assumes the risks from volatile capital flows and inflation are managed effectively. Looking further ahead, 2011 could be the first of a series of truly great years for the economy if the government implements forcefully its program of improving the infrastructure and the business climate, as well as making progress toward developing a basic social safety net.

We expect investment to spearhead growth in 2011, continuing this year’s trend. Net foreign direct investment more than tripled in January-September 2010 compared with 2009, with increases across all sectors, especially manufacturing. Capital equipment purchases represent an increasing share of investment which augurs well for productivity and income growth.

TBLTBL

Looking ahead, investment prospects appear even brighter. With opportunities in the US, Europe, and Japan limited by deleveraging, unemployment, and weak housing markets, investors from both mature economies and emerging markets are increasingly looking at Indonesia.

They appreciate its rapid demographic growth, proximity to the world’s strongest growing economies, and low government, household, and corporate debt.

For now, many investors seem willing to put up with the costs of Indonesia’s poor infrastructure and weak investment climate. However, their patience may eventually run out — especially once prospects for the mature economies improve. This is why it is urgent for the government to address these problems forcefully.

During the global recession, growth in Indonesia was sustained by robust private consumption. However, reduced agricultural output and elevated food prices as a result of bad weather depressed household spending in the third quarter of 2010. We expect strong private consumption growth to resume in 2011 on the back of 10-15 percent public sector and minimum wage rises, a gradual increase in employment, and tight labor markets for managerial, technical and financial workers.

The key risk is inflation which has traditionally had an immediate negative impact on consumer confidence and the spending of poorer households. Bank Indonesia (BI) and the government can mitigate this risk through monetary policy measures and by addressing supply bottlenecks in key food markets. Over the medium-term, the development of a basic social safety net could also help strengthen to private consumption by reducing the need for precautionary savings.

The central government fiscal stance should have a broadly neutral impact on growth in 2011. Taking into account the usual shortfalls in expenditure, the deficit next year should not differ too much from the 1.2-1.3 percent currently estimated for 2010 (a deficit of 1.8 percent is budgeted for 2011). Indonesia’s fiscal position is very comfortable compared with most other countries and the government should take advantage of this opportunity in 2011 to begin to deal with some of the structural constraints to growth.

Accelerating key infrastructure projects should be a priority. In addition to increased budget allocations, legislation to facilitate land acquisition for infrastructure is badly needed as well as more effective coordination between the central and local governments and between central government departments. To be able to sustain higher capital and social expenditure in the future, it is essential to improve tax compliance and reduce subsidies, as the government has begun to do.

The contribution of external demand to growth should be reduced in 2011, but still positive — the current account is expected to stay in (very) small surplus. Driven by rising investment and output, imports will continue to rise strongly. But export prospects also remain favorable.

The IMF is projecting only a moderate growth slowdown in Asia, including China, in 2011 so demand for Indonesia’s commodities should remain strong. The coming online reports of new investments in coal, palm oil, natural gas, as well as segments of the manufacturing sector, will propel exports.

The main macroeconomic risks in 2011 are related to volatile capital flows and inflation. We believe the authorities have handled the inflows appropriately so far and that Indonesia has benefitted from the migration of capital from advanced to emerging markets — inflows have increasingly been of a long-term nature and the borrowing costs of the private and public sectors have been reduced.

The rupiah has strengthened, but remains fairly valued, based on the IMF’s assessment of medium-term fundamentals. Moreover, Indonesia has built-up its foreign exchange reserves and they should be sufficient to help deal with a possible reversal of the inflows.

Credit growth has ticked-up but overall corporate and household indebtedness has barely increased as a share of GDP. Stocks and bonds have risen sharply and are considered as “pricey” by some analysts, but others see the moves as a “rerating” in response to Indonesia’s strong growth potential and reduced fiscal and external vulnerabilities.

So far, so good, but under the weight of capital inflows, monetary conditions have recently eased considerably. Even though the BI policy rate has remained unchanged, market interest rates have dropped, raising the possibility of accelerated credit growth, inflation and asset price bubbles in the
future.

Moreover, strong growth and double digit wage awards suggest core inflation (which excludes energy and volatile food prices) is set to pick-up. Thus, BI needs to tighten monetary conditions soon, especially given the long lags in monetary policy transmission in Indonesia. A combination of measures could be considered, including a higher policy rate and/or reserve requirements, increased sales of open market instruments, and a strengthening of the rupiah. With credit growth accelerating, bank supervisors need to be extremely vigilant. Further regulatory measures to boost credit growth should be avoided.

In conclusion, economic growth should accelerate modestly in 2011. However, the macroeconomic risks facing Indonesia in a challenging global environment should not be underestimated. Policymakers need to remain attuned to the risks that volatile capital flows may present to macroeconomic management, and inflation should be kept within the 4-6 percent target range. An even greater challenge is to ensure that strong growth is sustained into the medium-term through the implementation of structural measures envisaged under the Five Year Plan.

http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=3583309360227573492&postID=7104119165584205378

RI likely to miss inflation target

Alfian, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 12/20/2010 12:13 PM | Business

The government says it will be difficult to meet this year’s inflation target of 5.3 percent, explaining that extreme weather had resulted in soaring food prices

“I must admit that it is hard for us to meet the inflation target of 5 plus minus one as the extreme weather has had a significant impact on our food (prices),” Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa said Friday evening.

The revised 2010 state budget sets the inflation target at 5.3 percent, while the central bank has forecast an inflation rate of between 4 and 6 percent. In 2011, the state budget also sets the inflation assumption at 5.3 percent. When asked to what extent the current extreme weather would affect next year’s inflation target, Hatta said the government “was still optimistic” about the next year’s assumption.

Earlier this month, the Central Statistic Agency (BPS) said November’s inflation was “worrisome” and “only a miracle could see the target met”. The agency announced that the inflation rate rose 5.98 percent from January to November this year, while year-on-year inflation stood at 6.3 percent in November, breaching the central bank’s maximum target of 6 percent.

The BPS said the higher inflation was triggered by higher commodity prices, particularly rice prices, which contributed the most to November’s inflation rate. Hatta said the government had taken several measures to control staple food prices, including importing rice to maintain supply.

Meanwhile, Bank Indonesia (BI) Governor Darmin Nasution said that this year’s inflation rate may likely surpass 6.5 percent, but next year would not pass the rate forecast of between 4 and 6 percent, as “it will be in the range of 5 plus minus 1 percent”.

BI predicts next year’s inflationary pressure to remain heavy, but the rate will not be as high as this year, Darmin says.

“In the future, inflationary pressure will remain relatively heavy, but the inflation rate will not be as high as this year. The supply side of our economy, including production of goods and infrastructure projects, will be higher,” he told reporters at BI headquarters in Jakarta on Friday.

The inflation rate reached 5.98 percent up to November of this year, nearing the central bank’s higher-end target of 4 to 6 percent for the entire year of 2010.

BI director for monetary policy research Perry Warjiyo explained that next year’s inflationary pressure would mostly come from core inflation instead of volatile food and administered prices like this year.

“Inflationary pressure will be fundamental next year,” he said, predicting a higher challenge for policymakers to respond as liquidity pressures will also come from surging capital inflows that are expected to continue until next year. (est)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winters not good for weak hearts, says expert


Express News Service Tags : heart attacks, Dr Harinder K Bali, “Cardiac Problems in Old Age Posted: Mon Dec 20 2010, 03:41 hrs Chandigarh :

People are more susceptible to heart attacks in winters than in any other season. Noted cardiologist Dr Harinder K Bali said this at a seminar on “Cardiac Problems in Old Age”, which was organised by the Central Government Pensioners’ Association on National Pensioners’ Day here on Sunday .

“In comparison to summer, spring and autumn, winter has an all-time high threat perception, simply because people tend to ignore the symptoms of heart attacks and avoid physical exertion owing to cold conditions. The ones with weak heart muscles are more susceptible to chest infections commonly witnessed in this season,” said Bali.

Bali, who is working as an interventionist cardiologist and director of cardiology with Fortis Multi-Specialty Hospital, Mohali, said a considerable degree of caution and a fair amount of physical workout in the form of walk and a few simple do’s and don’ts could be really effective.

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Sharing tips for better heartcare, Dr Bali said: “Very early morning walk should be avoided and instead one should go to walk around 7 am. Early evening walk is most beneficial. Chest should be covered with warm clothes while walking. Also, contrary to popular perception, use of alcohol in a limited manner is recommended during winters.”

He said people susceptible to chest infections should take extra care through vaccination against influenza and pneumonia.

PLN installs new transformer to prevent blackouts

Rangga D. Fadillah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 12/15/2010 11:30 AM | Business
A | A | A |

State electricity company PT PLN on Tuesday officially began operating a new transformer at the Gandul power plant in Depok to improve the security of electricity supply for Greater Jakarta following a recent series of blackouts.

PLN Java and Bali operational director Ngurah Adnyana said the installation of the 500 megavolt-ampere transformer would enable the company to more flexibly take on the load of other power plants without disrupting electricity supply.

“The new transformer will reduce fuel consumption at the Kembangan power plant in West Jakarta by up to 15,000 kiloliters per month, or around Rp 50.4 billion [US$5.54 million] in value,” he said.

The transformer was the second of five new transformers the company plans to install to support the electricity grid on Java and Bali. The first transformer was
installed in Bekasi, West Java, last month, Ngurah explained, adding that the third and fourth transformers in Cibatu, West Java, and Cilegon, Banten province, were expected to start operation before Christmas this year.

“The final transformer will be built at the Kembangan power plant. We are awaiting the delivery of the transformer [from China],” he said.

To build the new transformer in Gandul, Ngurah said the company spent Rp 195 billion since the project began in 2008.

PLN has been under fire after a series of blackouts due to exploding transformers at the Kembangan and Muara Karang power plants recently. The company gave assurances that there would be no more power outages after it finished repairing the transformers.

By year-end, the company says, it would add 1,130 megawatts of capacity to the Java and Bali grids with the operation of three new power stations in Indramayu in West Java, Labuan in Banten and Muara Karang in North Jakarta.

The company also announced it would serve new connections for businesses and industries in Greater Jakarta on Wednesday. The capacity of the new connections will reach 1,025 megawatts.

PLN business and risk management director Murtaqi Syamsuddin, who also attended the launch of the new transformer, said that as of today, the company had booked 2,250 new business customers who were ready to utilize the connections.

“There are several other firms on our waiting list. We hope we can provide them with new connections or additional capacity by March next year,” he said, adding that the presence of the five new transformers boosted PLN’s chances of success for this new plan.

Murtaqi said PLN was committed to serving every new connection installation request in a more transparent, faster and cheaper way.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fly in Business Class style to Bali on Qatar Airways

The Insider

Travel buzz and fuss
05:54 AM Dec 16, 2010
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http://www.todayonline.com/Travel/EDC101216-0000183/The-Insider

New Ruling Accords Balinese Women Rights to Inheritance

Made Arya Kencana | December 15, 2010
Hindu Balinese women will only be entitled to half of what male heirs receive. (AFP Photo) Hindu Balinese women will only be entitled to half of what male heirs receive. (AFP Photo)

Denpasar. The century-old patriarchal traditions that govern Balinese family life were on Wednesday amended to finally grant women the right to inherit assets from their parents.

The High Council of Customary Villages (MUDP), the highest authority on Balinese traditional regulations, issued the ruling.

“This is a significant development in the 110 years [since traditional values were formally regulated] during which Balinese women were not entitled to a single rupiah of inheritance,” said Wayan Windia, head of research and development at the council.

However, Windia said the ruling would apply only to married Hindu Balinese women who had not converted to another faith.

“In such cases, the parents can still provide for their daughters at their own discretion,” he said.

Women will only be entitled to half of what male heirs receive.

The new ruling also strips men of automatic custody of children or conjugal assets in the event of a divorce.

Women will now be allowed to keep the children until a certain age, which would be determined during divorce proceedings.

Men will also be obliged to give their ex-wives money for child support.

Additionally, conjugal assets would now be divided equally.

Windia said the challenge now was to introduce the new ruling to the 1,471 customary villages across Bali that abide by the island’s traditional regulations.

“Our hope is that because these changes were made by the MUDP, the highest authority, the people will accept them without objection,” he said.

“But it won’t be easy or quick, because there’s bound to be some opposition.”

Ni Nyoman Nilawati, a women’s rights activist with the Hindu Dharma Women’s Association (WHDI), said the changes marked major progress toward gender equity in Balinese society.

“For more than a century now, women have been deprived of their rightful inheritance because of the patrilinear system in place here,” she said.

She attributed the progress to the greater role women now play in responding to social issues.

“Seven women now serve on the MUDP, whereas before they were prohibited from doing so,” Nilawati said.

Ni Luh Putu Anggreni, from the Mitra Kasih nongovernmental organization, said she hoped the changes would help stop domestic violence against women.

She said most women put up with the harsh treatment because they could lose their children and property through divorce.

Anggreni said she hoped divorce court judges would immediately adopt the ruling.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

US DATA: NFIB Index of Small Business Optimism rose..

BULLET:
14-Dec-2010

US DATA: NFIB Index of Small Business Optimism rose 1.5 points in
November to 93.2, the highest reading since Dec-07. Plans to increase
employment and CapX increased.

Gold rises ahead of FOMC meeting

14 December 2010 @ 02:51 am EDT


The shiny metal advanced for the second day ahead of the Fed's two-day meeting where policy makers are expected to leave interest rate low and may add to stimulus.

The Fed aims to boost recovery that started to show some sluggishness, thus it will probably keep borrowing cost near zero which Bernanke referred recently that he may purchase bonds beyond the $600 billion QE2 announced last month.

The expected monetary decision by the Fed is putting some pressure on the dollar that fell to one-week low versus the yen.

The dollar index, which tracks the dollar movements versus a basket of six major currencies slipped to a low of 79.21 from the day's opening at 79.32 as the breach of 80.00 levels paved the way for further decline.

Accordingly, dollar-dominated commodities rose where oil soared to a high of $88.72 a barrel from yesterday's closing of $88.20, while spot gold surged to a high of $1405.70 an ounce after it recorded a low of $1393.80.

Among other precious metals, platinum inched down to $1704.70 from the day's opening at $1705.70, palladium increased to $758.20 from $757.00 and silver soared to $29.83 from $28.73, as of 07:45 GMT.

Gold, which climbed near to 30% this year, is benefiting from the dollar's decline and as an inflation hedge where the second round stimulus announced by some central banks is expected to push inflation levels higher.

In China, inflation rose to 5.1% in November from 4.4% in October to record the most rapid pace in 28 months, according to consumer prices inflation gauge.

The leap above the government's target of 3% may prompt policy makers to raise interest rate again in the coming months after raising it in October by 50 basis points.

Later in the day, UK inflation is expected to remain above the target at 3.2% in November and German investor confidence to show improvement in December.

The previous session, gold added $8.70 or 0.63% to close at $1393.89, while gold price was setin London at $1399.00 per ounce inclining from $1388.25 during the AM fixing.

U.K. Housing Gauge Close to 18-Month Low in November

By Svenja O’Donnell - Dec 14, 2010 7:30 PM GMT+0800

U.K. Housing Gauge Stayed Close to 18-Month Low November

The number of real-estate agents and surveyors saying prices fell exceeded those reporting gains by 44 percentage points, compared with minus 49 points in October. Economists Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

A U.K. housing-market gauge stayed close to the lowest in 18 months in November as demand for homes waned, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said.

The number of real-estate agents and surveyors saying prices fell exceeded those reporting gains by 44 percentage points, compared with minus 49 points in October, the London- based group said in an e-mailed report today. Economists forecast a decline to minus 50 points, according to the median of 16 predictions in a Bloomberg News survey.

“Fear over how future spending cuts will impact on the jobs market are clearly still weighing heavily on potential purchasers’ minds, with many deciding to ‘wait and see’ until the new year,” RICS spokesman Ian Perry said in a statement. “Meanwhile, the lack of mortgage finance continues to deter first-time buyers.”

Recent data have shown a mixed picture of the housing market. While the Bank of England kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low this month, making loan repayments cheaper, mortgage approvals fell to an eight month-low in October. Consumers are also bracing themselves for the deepest spending cuts since World War II, leading to the loss of 330,000 jobs.

A gauge of new buyer enquiries dropped to minus 18 in November from minus 12, RICS said. A measure showing the number of new property listings was unchanged at minus 4.

An index of prices in London was at minus 32 percent in November, compared with minus 49 percent the previous month.

‘Downward Spiral’

“The housing market is only a shadow of itself in 2007,” Jeremy Dell, a real-estate agent at JJ Dell & Co. in Shropshire, England, said in the report. “The economics indicate a long downward spiral.”

The U.K. has at least seven indicators of the housing market, which have shown divergence in recent months. Acadametrics Ltd. and LSL Property Services Plc said on Dec. 10 that house prices increased to the highest in more than two years in November. Mortgage lender Halifax said prices fell 0.1 percent that month, while the Department for Communities and Local Government said today that prices declined by that amount in October.

Banks are still curbing credit. Lenders granted 47,185 loans to buy homes in October, compared with 47,369 in September, the Bank of England said on Nov. 29. That’s less than half the level at the peak of the housing boom in 2007.

Still, the number of mortgage holders in arrears fell 11 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the Financial Services Authority said today. The increase in the number of new arrears cases is also easing. There were 36,600 such cases in the quarter, a drop of 19 percent on the year.

The central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee last week left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low 0.5 percent and its emergency bond-purchase plan at 200 billion pounds ($317 billion).

To contact the reporter on this story: Svenja O’Donnell in London at sodonnell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Fraher at jfraher@bloomberg.net

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bank Indonesia: Core Inflation May Speed Up In 2011, 2012

DJ
13-Dec-2010
JAKARTA (Dow Jones)--Indonesia's core inflation may accelerate in 2011 and 2012, Bank Indonesia said Monday, raising the possibility of a policy rate increase in the near term.
"The high (inflation) pressure during 2010 was mostly explained by volatile food inflation and administered prices, while core inflation has been controlled. Going forward, there is potential increase in core inflation in (the) year 2011 and 2012," the central bank said on its website without providing reasons for the expected increase.
Core consumer prices, which exclude volatile prices for items like foodstuff, rose by 4.31% in November from a year earlier, speeding up from 4.19% in October.
Meanwhile, inflation stood at 6.33% in November, above the central bank's target range of between 4% and 6%, and accelerating from October's 5.67%.
Earlier in the day, Bank Indonesia's Deputy Governor Hartadi Sarwono said that December inflation will likely reach 6.5%, adding pressure on the authorities to act to rein in prices.
Bank Indonesia has kept its key policy rate steady at 6.5% since August 2009. While many central banks in neighboring countries have moved to raise rates to curb inflation, Bank Indonesia has kept its rate unchanged due to worries it may attract more capital inflows, which will complicate its liquidity management.
Several analysts said that the central bank will likely choose to take administrative measures to absorb liquidity and prevent sudden reversal of the inflows before raising its policy rate.
Sarwono earlier in the day said "now is not yet the time to increase interest rates."
Analysts are divided on the timing of the first rate move, but some forecast it to be as early as the first quarter of next year.
-By Andreas Ismar, Dow Jones Newswires; 62 21 39831277; andreasismar.sandiwan@dowjones.com
Click here to go to Dow Jones NewsPlus, a web front page of today's most important business and market news, analysis and commentary: http://www.djnewsplus.com/access/al?rnd=wq9Gt7V4VL0%2BVxnnum8Zjw%3D%3D. You can use this link on the day this article is published and the following day.
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