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Indonesian inflation accelerates to 5.90% in March

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Indonesian inflation accelerated to 5.90 percent year-on-year in March, surpassing the upper limit of the central bank's target range due to an increase in food prices, official data showed Monday.

The rise in the consumer price index was well above the bank's target range of 3.5 to 5.5 percent for this year, and quicker than the 5.31 percent recorded in February.

The statistics office said the increase was driven by surging food prices after the government introduced measures several months ago to limit imports of some products.

The price of shallots, widely used in Indonesian cooking, jumped 82.3 percent in March from the previous month, while there were also sharp rises for garlic and chilli, said statistics office chief Suryamin, who goes by one name.

Purbaya Yudhi Sadewa, an economist from Danareksa Research Institute, said there was "a mistake in policy, including the limitation of beef imports and a delay in letting in several containers filled with garlic to port".

On-month inflation was 0.63 percent, easing from 0.75 percent in February, according to the statistics office.

Core inflation, which strips out volatile food prices, slowed to 4.21 percent on-year in March from 4.29 percent the previous month.

The central bank has left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 5.75 percent for 13 months, but analysts believe a change is unlikely in the near future even after the recent increases in inflation.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130401/indonesian-inflation-accelerates-590-march