Inflation Surprises in Southeast Asia’s Two Biggest Economies

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Inflation in Indonesia and Thailand weakened in September, providing policy makers in Southeast Asia’s two biggest economies with ample room to keep lowering interest rates to spur growth.

Consumer prices in Indonesia rose 3.39% in September from a year ago, down from 3.49% in August and lower than the 3.52% median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Thai inflation slowed to an eight-month low of 0.32% last month from 0.52% in August, below economists’ median forecast of 0.41%.

Central banks in both nations have cut interest rates this year to bolster their economies against the global slowdown and U.S.-China trade tensions. Indonesia has been the more aggressive one, lowering rates three times since July to roll back some of the policy tightening last year. Thailand has eased once this year, in August.

Inflation Surprises in Southeast Asia’s Two Biggest Economies

Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director general of the Thai Commerce Ministry’s trade policy and strategy office, said inflation may edge up in the fourth quarter, and for the full year of 2019 will unlikely exceed 0.9%. The Bank of Thailand’s inflation target range is 1%-4%.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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