Economy: Ensuring Covid-19 vaccine availability is a crucial instrument for responding to the current pandemic as it could also aid national economic recovery. The remark was conveyed by Indonesian finance minister in the virtual meeting of G-20 Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. “The availability and access of vaccines is extremely necessary for COVID-19 handling as well as supporting economic recovery,” said the minister

The meeting emphasized the crucial role of collective action in encouraging research and development, production, and distribution of Covid-19 tools, including diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. The meeting also highlighted the need to make them global public goods as countries need equal and affordable access to vaccines to prevent and handle this pandemic. The G20 countries also discussed Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for developing countries to improve the resistance, preparedness, and response of their health systems to the outbreak.

Industry: Indonesia is in early talks with Tesla about a potential investment by the electric car maker in the ASEAN country. According to an official at the coordinating ministry for maritime and investment, Tesla had reached out to the government informally about a possible venture, but he did not specify what the company had in mind. “It was still an early discussion and was not detailed yet. We need further discussion with Tesla,” the official said, adding that Indonesia has a number of incentives for EV investments.

Indonesia is a major producer of nickel, which is a key component in EV batteries and is seeking to develop a full supply chain for nickel at home, especially for extracting battery chemicals, making batteries and eventually building EVs. This is opposed to merely exporting nickel ore, which has been stopped. The country had secured a deal for lithium battery plant by South Korea’s LG Chem and China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL). Earlier this year, Tesla chief Elon Musk urged miners to produce more nickel and offered “giant” long-term contracts if the element was mined “efficiently and in an environmentally sensitive way”. Also in the region but on an unrelated front, Tesla has been recently spotted scouting for aftersales staff in Singapore, which is a clear hint that the maker of the Model S is looking to set up shop just south of the border. More on Tesla’s latest battery tech here.

Trade: In September 2020 Indonesia posted a US$2.44 billion surplus, with US$14.01 billion in exports and US$11.57 in imports, resulting in the fifth surplus this year. “The surplus recorded in September 2020 is bigger than that posted in August and September last year when a deficit of US$183.3 million was recorded,” Head of the Central Bureau for Statistics Suhariyanto revealed this week. Indonesia booked trade surpluses with several countries in the ninth month of the year, including US$1.08 billion with the US, US$562.5 million with India, and US$491.2 million with the Philippines. However, the trade balance with several other countries posted deficits during the same period, including with China, at US$879 million; US$140 million with Ukraine; and US$119 million with Brazil.

Indonesia’s trade balance from January to September 2020 registered a surplus of US$13.51 billion, significantly larger as compared to the corresponding period last year when a deficit was logged. During the month of September, we also witnessed a surplus of US$2.4 billion. Exports have begun increasing, while industry exports have also revived, in addition to the imports of core materials and capital goods. Indonesian trade balance in May recorded a surplus of US$2.09 billion, while US$1.27 billion surplus in June, US$3.26 billion surplus in July, and US$2.33 billion surplus in August. Meanwhile, the surplus registered in September 2020 was the most significant in the last five months.

Mining: Indonesia’s State miner Mining Industry Indonesia (MIND ID), formerly known as PT Inalum, completed its purchase of a 20% stake in nickel miner PT Vale Indonesia. MIND ID bought the 20% stake at Rp2,780 rupiah per share, totaling to Rp5.52-trillion (US$375.77 million). Brazil’s Vale Group controls 44.34% of PT Vale Indonesia , while Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining holds 15.93% of shares. MIND ID bought 14.9% stake from Vale Canada, the Canadian subsidiary of Vale Group, and 5.1% from Sumimoto, according to the statement.

With that transaction, Indonesia add more state ownership in the mining sector. The ministry of State-Owned Enterprises said that this is also a great step to strengthen the value chain in Indonesian and the development of the battery industry for electric cars. The Indonesian government is keen to build a holistic onshore electric vehicle (EV) industry, covering everything from the production of nickel chemicals needed for batteries, through to producing those batteries and eventually building vehicles domestically. Mining Industry Indonesia changed its name from PT Inalum in August to distinguish its holding company function from its smelting operational business.

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