Dateline Southeast Asia

Indonesia launches web monitor to keep check on food price inflation

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags: Inflation

In a move designed to help keep food prices stable and inflation in line with official targets, Indonesian officials have launched a website to monitor the prices of the 10 main food commodities.

The site, devised by the central bank, was launched this week under the banner of the Centre for Strategic Food Prices Information at​. 

It will follow the prices of items including rice, shallots, garlic, chilli, meat and cooking oil in 164 markets in 92 countries across the nation.

It will be used by the Bank of Indonesia for policymaking to “increase our accuracy in inflation expectations in the future,” the bank’s governor, Agus Martowardojo, said.

He added that the bank could achieve its annual inflation target of 2.5-4.5% for next year by using accurate market data in this way.

Indonesia is often at the mercy of volatile food prices, which often push the headline inflation rate higher than the bank’s target. Food hoarding and speculators, particularly in the month of Ramadan, when consumption is high and supplies are traditionally low, often brings even more economic uncertainty.

In an assessment of the current Ramadan month, which began in late May, the bank said food prices have been manageable, though the headline inflation rate last month, at 4.33%, is the highest in 14 months. 

Indonesia’s finance minister said recently that the government aims to propose a law to manage food prices. 

While doing so, Sri Mulyani Indrawati criticised speculators for causing food price distortions. She branded them as “very evil​” people who hurt the economy, adding that they were guilty of serious crimes.

Data coverage will be expanded next year to include wholesale farm prices—a move which the bank believes could remove layers of intermediary sellers, who distort prices.

More from Southeast Asia…

Ferrero’s first innovation centre in Asia launches in Singapore

Ferrero has opened its first Asian innovation centre in Singapore, which will study areas of health and nutrition, new raw materials and product development. 

Giovanni Ferrero
Giovanni Ferrero

The new centre, which has been designed to strengthen the Italian confectioner’s position in innovation, will also offer consumer insight and foresight activities.

Supported by Singapore’s Economic Development Board, it will house a multidisciplinary team of specialists in food science, biotechnology, nutrition, consumer insights, material science and design.

Beh Swan Gin, chairman of the EDB, said Singapore has been gaining more prominence as a regional centre for food research.

Ferrero’s decision to establish its first Asian innovation centre in Singapore reflects the significance of the rapidly expanding consumer markets in Asia, and underscores Singapore's position as the region’s leading food and nutrition hub​.”

Ferrero chose Singapore due to its strategic location in the region and its proximity to research bodies, such as A*STAR, the government-backed research agency, and several universities.

The island nation represents “a dynamic and innovative environment where scientific talent and resources combine with diverse Asian consumer demographics​,” Ferrero said in a statement. 

This offers an ideal platform for experimenting with novel technologies and raw materials with the aim to develop and test new products in a market of strategic importance for Ferrero,​” it added.

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