by Ulisari Eslita
Indonesia's inflation rate cooled more than expected in April, as curbs to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus continued to stifle demand. Recent data by Statistics Indonesia (BPS) showed that the consumer price index stood at 0.08% in April, much lower than the 0.44% recorded in the same month last year. Meanwhile, the annual inflation rate was recorded at 2.67%, slightly lower than the 2.83% year-on-year.
BPS head, Suhariyanto said the inflation pattern was odd, as normally the inflation rate rises during Ramadan. “This is unusual because normally there is a higher demand for goods and services during Ramadan,” said Suhariyanto. He added that the lower demand for goods and services was a result of a slowdown in economic and social activities caused by the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB).
During April, BPS data indicated that the personal care segment saw the highest inflation of 1.2%, followed by health with 0.23% inflation, and food supplies with 0.18% inflation. On the other hand, transportation, information and technology, and education sectors recorded deflation during the month.
Meanwhile, tourism sector remains the hardest hit sector during the coronavirus pandemic. In April, foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia shrank 64.1% to 470,900. According to Bahana Sekuritas recent research, the decline could even be steeper in May, as the full ban on commercial flights, which accounts for 52% of tourism arrivals, is already in place.