Indonesia's Jan foreign visitor arrivals drop 89% y/y as Feb inflation rate cools to six-month low of 1.38%

JAKARTA, March 1 (Reuters): The number of foreign visitors arriving in Indonesia fell 89.05% in January from a year earlier to around 141,300 amid global coronavirus-linked restrictions on travel, data released by the statistics bureau showed on Monday.

Meanwhile, Indonesia's annual inflation rate cooled for a second straight month in February to 1.38%, the slowest since August 2020, data from the statistics bureau showed on Monday.

February's rate matched the median forecast of a Reuters poll of analysts and compared with January's 1.55%. The annual inflation rate has stayed below the central bank's 2% to 4% target range for the most part during the COVID-19 pandemic because of weak demand.

The core inflation rate, which excludes volatile food and government-controlled prices, was 1.53% in February, roughly in line with the poll's 1.52%. It slowed slightly from January's 1.56%.

Earlier last wee, Indonesiaalso announced that it is "ready to fight" the European Union's challenge of the Southeast Asian country's ban on nickel ore exports at the World Trade Organisation, arguing the bloc's actions may hinder Indonesia's development plans, the trade minister said.

Once the world's biggest exporter of nickel, Indonesia banned ore exports last year to incentivise foreign investors to help develop a full nickel supply chain in the country, starting from extraction, processing into metals and chemicals used in batteries, all the way to building electric vehicles.

The EU launched its initial complaint in November, 2019, against the export restrictions on raw materials, notably nickel ore and iron ore, that are used to make stainless steel, saying the bans were illegal and unfair to EU steel producers.

It escalated its challenge at the WTO last month by requesting the Geneva-based trade body form a panel to adjudicate on the case.

The European Commission said last month the EU stainless steel industry was producing at its lowest level for 10 years, while Indonesia was set to become the second-largest global producer after China due to "unfair measures",

In 2019, the EU imposed duties on hot-rolled flat stainless steel from Indonesia and launched an investigation in September into cold-rolled stainless products from Indonesia.- Reuters

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