Becca Blais named Truman Scholar

first_imgJunior Becca Blais was awarded the Truman Scholarship, an award given to college juniors with plans to attend graduate school who then work to make a difference through public service, according to a press release from the Truman Scholarship Foundation. Blais, who currently serves as student body president, is a political science and peace studies major, originally from New Smyrna Beach, Florida.  “I’m incredibly honored to be named a Truman Scholar,” Blais said in an email. “I am excited for all of the opportunities in store ahead, and I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for everyone who has supported me in this process.”The 62 new Truman Scholars were selected from among 768 candidates, according to the release. Tags: Becca Blais, truman scholarshiplast_img read more

Airlines start to recover with more growth in China, Hong Kong

first_img“China’s domestic capacity stands at 75% of January’s level, the United States at 27% and Russia at 49% of pre COVID-19 levels,” he said. “For anyone interested the UK level is now some 4%!”Some markets are still on a downtrend as travel restrictions are kept in place to contain the coronavirus, which has infected more than 4 million people and killed nearly 290,000. Seat capacity on South Asian airlines dropped 14% this week and is 72% lower than in January, but it could bounce back as India considers restarting flights following a nationwide lockdown, Grant said. Airlines added more seats back to their flight schedules this week, led by China and even increases in Hong Kong, suggesting the industry is starting to recover from the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to OAG Aviation Worldwide.Airlines globally added a net 600,000 seats to reach a total of almost 30 million, up about 2% from the previous week, OAG senior analyst John Grant wrote in a report. That’s still a long way off the weekly capacity of about 110 million seats this time last year, but it is an encouraging sign nonetheless.Northeast Asia is a bright spot. China added 1 million seats to schedules this week, including 800,000 on domestic routes, and is now operating twice as many seats as the US. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. added 40,000 seats and increased frequency by some 120 flights, Grant said. Topics :last_img read more

Government gives LPS more power to prevent bank failure

first_imgThe law has been implemented to prevent economic meltdown as it allows the government to widen the state budget deficit beyond the legal limit of 3 percent and Bank Indonesia (BI) to directly buy government bonds to help finance the budget, among other things.The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the stability of the financial system, as it causes supply-demand shock and weakens the financial industry and macroeconomy, according to the Financial System Stability Committee (KSSK) in its first quarter report issued in May.The loan disbursement rate among banks grew just 3.04 percent year-on-year (yoy) in May, much slower than 5.73 percent in April, as the coronavirus battered the real sector.The banking industry’s capital adequacy ratio (CAR), meanwhile, stood at 22.16 percent in May, up slightly from 22.13 percent a month before, Financial Services Authority (OJK) data show. It continued to book an 8.87 percent increase in third-party funds in May.OJK data also show that banks have provided 6.35 million debtors with credit restructuring worth Rp 695.3 trillion as of June 22, as part of the authority’s move to provide relief for borrowers affected by the outbreak.Previously, publicly listed Bank Bukopin had to limit customers’ withdrawals due to liquidity issues and shareholder commotion that prevented them from injecting more capital into the bank. The reports triggered panic among customers, as the OJK tried to calm them, and pushed Bukopin’s shareholders to finalize the capital injection plan.Halim said should the struggling banks had failed to improve their liquidity after the fund placement, the bank would be handed over to the OJK before being dissolved.Other than providing a lifeline for problematic banks, the new regulation also enables the LPS to place funds in healthy and liquid banks to manage or increase LPS liquidity.The PP furthermore allows the LPS to seek other methods to raise funds in its effort to prevent banks from failing.The methods include having government bond repurchase (repo) agreements with BI, sales of government bonds to the central bank, allowing the LPS to issue its own debt papers and seeking loans from domestic or foreign parties, so long as they have no conflict of interest with LPS’ duty or incite  a negative perception and reduce the public’s trust in the corporation.These financing methods were previously unheard of in the 2004 LPS Law, as the law had only allowed the corporation to seek financing through government loans if it needed more liquidity.The LPS is still able to seek loans from the government but it should be the last resort if the corporation fails to increase its liquidity through the aforementioned methods.Senior economist Aviliani lauded the regulation, saying that it allowed the corporation to take a more proactive approach in protecting banks that had paid premiums to the LPS and would help prevent bank failure during the COVID-19 pandemic.“Receiving a fund placement from the LPS can at least restore customers’ trust in the banks for a short while and prevent them from rushing to get their money out of the banks,” she told The Jakarta Post over the phone on Friday.Center on Reform of Economics Indonesia economist Piter Abdullah also praised the government’s effort to allow the LPS to seek more funding, as he projected the corporation would need it to anticipate a rise in problems faced by banks amid the pandemic.Topics : The new regulation allows the LPS to place a maximum 2.5 percent of its assets in one bank and a maximum 30 percent of its assets in all banks.The LPS’ total assets reached Rp 120.58 trillion (US$8.35 trillion) at the end of 2019. It also had Rp 114.53 trillion in securities investment, with liabilities reaching Rp 751 billion and total equity of Rp 119.83 trillion.Fund placement in both healthy and struggling banks will be temporary, as the regulation only allows the LPS to place the funds for a maximum one month, with up to five extensions.“This is an extraordinary preventive move as a direct follow-up to Law No. 2/2020 to prevent further disruption in our financial system,”LPS commissioner board head Halim Alamsyah said during a virtual press conference on Friday. The government has issued a regulation that gives the Indonesian Deposit Insurance Corporation (LPS) more room to manage its own liquidity and to prevent banks from failing in an effort to help strengthen the country’s financial system stability.Under Government Regulation (PP) No. 33/2020 on the LPS’ authority in imposing measures to deal with financial stability issued on July 7, the corporation can now place funds in banks during the economic recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, among other things. The placement aims to strengthen the LPS’ liquidity and/or to anticipate or solve financial problems that can result in bank failure.Previously, the LPS was only able to take a reactive approach, as it was tasked with rescuing insolvent banks by liquidating them by taking over shareholder duty, selling or transferring assets and reviewing and canceling unprofitable agreements to help solve their liquidity problems, as stipulated in Law No. 24/2004.last_img read more

Gaikindo to cut car sales target even further as pandemic lingers

first_imgDespite national car sales rebounding to 37,200 units in August and 25,200 in July, the figures are still well below the association’s target of 80,000 cars in August alone, according to Stefanus.“We believe that this prolonged pandemic will greatly impact the economy and therefore affect our sales. We’ll probably still see the pandemic’s impact on car sales next year,” he said.Car sales crashed in May with a more than 95 percent year-on-year (yoy) drop as the coronavirus outbreak hit demand, before jumping in June to 12,623 units.Gaikindo recorded around 323,400 cars being sold between January and August, down by more than 50 percent compared with 661,000 units sold during the same period last year. Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita has urged Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati to temporarily exempt new cars from vehicle tax (PKB) until December in a bid to boost car sales amid COVID-19 pressures, according to a statement on Sept. 14.Read also: Waive car taxes to boost sales, minister saysCar sales are among the indicators of the country’s consumer spending, which accounts for more than half of gross domestic product (GDP).The drop in car sales has also hit auto financing companies. PT Toyota Astra Financial Services (TAF) saw a spike in credit restructuring applications during the second quarter, amounting to 35,000 customers with a total financing value of Rp 5 trillion (US$338.5 million).“A lot of customers who applied for financing restructuring were actually financially stable, but they were concerned about their income and business when the pandemic first struck,” TAF marketing director Wisnu Wardhana said in the same event. However, Wisnu said the number had declined to almost zero by July.The share of cars being purchased using a financing facility also decreased to around 50 percent of the total units sold during the pandemic, from up to 70 percent in normal times.“Customers are currently becoming more conservative and tending to secure their cash flow. Therefore, we’ve shifted our strategy by focusing on low-interest loans to entice them,” he said.Carmaker PT Toyota Astra Motor (TAM) marketing director Anton Jimmi Suwandi said the company was working together with TAF in building Toyota’s marketing strategy, which relies heavily on easing customer access to acquiring new cars rather than lowering prices through discounts.“We’ve increased our online presence and improved our sales and aftersales activity through mobile services. We’ve also begun to launch our new products, such as the Corolla Cross, to stimulate the market,” he said.Anton said Toyota saw a rising number of prospective customers from online platforms following the company’s digital-shift strategy. The company’s monthly website traffic has also increased to around 2.5 million visits during the pandemic, up from the average 1.5 million.“Previously, the proportion of customers who came from online stores and websites was only around 15 percent of our total customers. Now, it amounts to around 40 percent,” he said.As the online trend continues to grow, Anton said TAM was planning to launch a digital application by the end of the year. The application will allow customers to chat and consult with Toyota’s mechanics as part of its aftersales services development.Toyota has the largest market share in the Indonesian car market, comprising 31 percent of 2019’s total car sales.The company recorded a 16 percent monthly sales growth in August to 8,740 units, but the figure remains 70 percent lower compared with the same period last year.Topics : The Association of Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers (Gaikindo), which previously slashed its domestic car sales target by 40 percent to just 600,000 units this year as the COVID-19 pandemic forced showrooms to temporarily close, has warned it may have to cut its sales forecast even further.Gaikindo’s special staff Stefanus Soetomo said on Thursday that the association would have to rethink its current target as it was made based on the assumption that the pandemic would be under control by July and that car sales would fully rebound between August and September.“The number of infections is currently reaching a record-breaking level and we have to anticipate that by reassessing our target,” he said during an online public discussion held by Kompas, while declining to reveal the new target as the figures were still being calculated.last_img read more