Economic growth in Q1 not to exceed 2017: Minister

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesias economic growth in the first quarter of 2018 is expected to remain at the same level of growth as in the same period of 2017, at 5.01 percent, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution remarked.

"It might not exceed last years growth," Nasution noted here on Monday.

According to him, one reason for the stagnant growth would be the delayed peak harvesting period from March to April, which has slightly reduced contribution from agriculture sector.

"This year, the peak harvesting season is expected to be in April, and so the agriculture (contribution) may be lower. The harvesting period would start from April. The peak harvesting season would be in the second quarter and not the first quarter," the minister elaborated.

As a consequence, he added that the government would have to prepare rice stock in the first quarter of 2018 to keep its prices stable, especially ahead of the fasting month in May.

"Now the rice price is yet to decline. We have to work all out to reduce the price before the fasting month. We have to take measures to reduce the price within one or two weeks," he revealed.

Nasution has also predicted that loan growth, which has not yet been fully recovered in the first quarter of the year, would affect performance in the retail sector and its contribution to the economic growth during the period.

Previously, the Central Bureau of Statistic (BPS) has reported a positive growth of 7.12 percent in the first quarter of 2017 in the agriculture sector, as harvesting period had started earlier in March.

The record was higher than the growth in the same period of 2016, which has only reached 1.47 percent due to El Nino and La Nina phenomenon.

All sub-sectors of agriculture have shown positive growth, except for horticulture products, it noted.

The highest growth was recorded for food commodities, at 12.96 percent, as a result of advanced planting, extension program, higher rainfall, and production tool assistance.

Other sectors that had shown significant growth during the first quarter of 2017 were information and communication, which grew at 9.1 percent; services, which grew at 8.01 percent; transportation and warehousing, which grew at 7.65 percent; and health services and social activities, which grew at 7.13 percent.

Source: ANTARA News

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