While core inflation surprised to the upside earlier this week, registering 5.15% y/y compared with consensus expectations of 4.6% (and the first 5% plus month since June 2009), most economists still believe that Bank Indonesia (BI) will likely keep its 6.75% policy rate unchanged when it meets today given its habitual emphasis on  inflation-oriented policy and price stability which, despite the aforementioned rise remains “comfortably within its 2011 target band of 4-6%” per Barclays.  This is good news for equities given investors’ apparent indifference towards an ever-lingering backdrop of corruption (one oft-cited reason, interestingly, for India’s hitherto under-performance) in the name of consumer-lead high growth (BI 2011 estimate of 6.5%) and low inflation.  That said, BI’s alleged counter-cyclical bend my be tested sooner rather than later, and not just because a (suddenly easing?) China may be ready to re-inflate the commodity world just in case (or because) Ben Bernanke won’t/can’t; a shrinking current account surplus (as a % of GDP) is on one hand symptomatic of a, dare we suggest it, ‘safe’ and relatively decoupled haven/engine for growth (which coincidentally is also a proxy on EM-Asian demand given that roughly one-third of exports are destined for China, Singapore and South Korea), but also of an increasingly wage and price-sticky environment that should accelerate an already chugging, self-fulfilling feedback loop of liquidity, currency appreciation and inflation expectations that will ultimately test a given central bank’s resolve to slow down the ride just as it really starts to get going.  Yet as the number of high-net worth individuals is set to triple by 2015, staying ahead of the [yield] curve will require a completely new paradigm lest credit-induced bubbles begin to loom, a feat which won’t be made any easier if political and corporate crookedness is at all endemic.

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