INDONESIA

Interest rates unchanged

The central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged, and cut its outlook for economic growth, as it seeks to support an uneven recovery as foreign outflows pressure the country’s currency. Bank Indonesia yesterday kept the seven-day reverse repurchase rate at a record low of 3.5 percent. The central bank said that it now expects GDP to expand 4.1 percent to 5.1 percent this year, down from 4.3 percent to 5.3 percent previously. Governor Perry Warjiyo and his board have cut the key rate by 150 basis points since the beginning of last year amid Southeast Asia’s worst COVID-19 outbreak.

FORESTRY

Stora Enso to shut two mills

Finnish forestry company Stora Enso yesterday said that it would permanently close two paper mills, citing decreasing demand for paper in Europe. The firm said that the closures would cut its annual paper sales by about 600 million euros (US$723.8 million), while operating profit would improve by about 35 million euros annually. Stora Enso said that the trend of falling demand had accelerated due to the pandemic, leading to over-capacity in the European paper market and historically low prices. The planned mill closures are expected to take place during the third quarter.

TELECOMS

Deutsche invests in Celo

Deutsche Telekom has invested in Celo, a blockchain payments platform that allows mobile phone access to “decentralized finance” projects, which allow users to bypass traditional financial firms, the company said yesterday. It did not disclose the size of the investment. Deutsche Telekom has also bought an unspecific amount of the Celo digital token used on the platform, it said, following major firms, such as Tesla Inc, which hold cryptocurrency in their coffers. Decentralized finance projects range from cryptocurrency exchanges and loans to insurance, allowing users to bypass traditional financial companies as they borrow, lend or transact with one another.

AVIATION

Garuda ordered to pay fine

An Australian court ordered Garuda Indonesia to pay a fine of A$19 million (US$15 million) in relation to a price-fixing case after Indonesia’s flag carrier dropped an appeal against a penalty levied two years ago, a regulator said yesterday. The Federal Court asked Garuda to pay the sum after the airline withdrew its appeal against the May 2019 judgement, which found that it had fixed fees and surcharges for air freight services between 2003 and 2006, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said. The Federal Court ordered Garuda to pay the penalty in monthly installments from December this year to December 2026, it said.

GAMING

Xbox unveils cloud service

Microsoft Corp’s gaming division Xbox yesterday introduced a beta version of its cloud gaming service on Web browsers of Windows 10 PCs, and Apple Inc’s iPhones and iPads. The feature enables users to play more than 100 Xbox Game Pass titles on Microsoft’s Edge, Google’s Chrome, or Apple’s Safari Internet browsers on their devices instead of using a video game console, easing access to gaming. The beta version is only available for select Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members, who would be sent an invite, Xbox cloud gaming head Catherine Gluckstein said in a blog post on Monday.

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