Indonesia’s annualized inflation keeps easing in March

Indonesia’s annual inflation logged slower growth for the fourth month in March as the government has strictly controlled prices ahead of presidential polls.

The national statistics bureau said on Monday that the consumer price index in March edged down to 2.48 percent year-on-year from 2.53 percent in February.

On the monthly basis, the inflation drifted up 0.11 percent from 0.08 percent in February, head of the bureau Kecuk Suhariyanto said.

The annualized core inflation, stripping off administered prices and volatile food prices, ticked down to 3.03 percent in March from 3.06 percent in February, he said.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who is seeking re-election on April 17 against former general Prabowo Subianto, has applied populist policies to attract voters by avoiding electricity price hike and keeping food prices low.

The low headline inflation allows the country’s central bank to give stimulus to the economy after raising its interest rate six times with a total of 175 basis points to 6 percent last year amid dovish tone of the U.S. Federal Reserve and other advanced nations’ central banks.

The central bank, Bank Indonesia, estimated that the inflation will accelerate at the range of 2.5 to 4.5 percent this year.

The Southeast Asia’s biggest economy is expected to expand 5.3 percent this year after registering a 5.17-percent growth last year.