JAKARTA, June 12 Indonesia's central bank and
government have gone online in a bid to help keep volatile food
prices and inflation in-line with official targets.
On Monday, they launched a website for the Center for
Strategic Food Prices Information (PIHPS), which will show
prices of 10 main food commodities that impact food inflation
The site - hargapangan.id/ - shows prices of items
including rice, shallots, garlic, chilli, meat and cooking oil
in 164 markets in 82 cities across the sprawling archipelago.
Bank Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardojo said PIHPS data
will be used for BI policymaking to "increase our accuracy in
inflation expectations in the future".
He said that improving data accuracy could help BI achieve
its 2.5-4.5 percent annual inflation target range in 2018. Its
target for this year is 3.0-5.0 percent.
In the past, volatile food prices have frequently pushed
Indonesia's headline inflation rate higher than the central
bank's target, especially during the Muslim fasting month of
Ramadan and when supplies are low. The government has blamed
food hoarding and speculators for this trend.
This year, Ramadan began in late May. Food prices have been
relatively manageable, BI has said, although the headline rate
was 4.33 percent in May, the highest in 14 months. May's annual
food inflation rate was 3.26 percent.
Next year, BI plans to expand data coverage to include the
wholesale prices farmers get when they sell their produce.
Providing such data to farmers could "avoid layers and layers of
intermediary (sellers) that could distort prices," Martowardojo
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Monday the
government plans to propose a law to manage food prices. She did
not elaborate, but slammed any one involved in causing food
price distortions hurting the economy as "very evil" and guilty
of a serious crime.
Last year, the trade ministry issued a decree on the
reference prices for seven commodities for farmers and consumers
to manage price fluctuations.
(Reporting by Cindy Silviana; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo;
Editing by Richard Borsuk)