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Bank Indonesia leaves key rates unchanged

Bank Indonesia left its key interest rates unchanged for the second month in a row following four successive cuts, though it said it will assess the room for an "accommodative policy mix" going into 2020.

The central bank held its seven-day reverse repo rate at 5.00%, and the deposit facility and the lending facility rates at 4.25% and 5.75%, respectively.

Policymakers expect GDP growth to rise in the fourth quarter, bringing the overall expansion rate to about 5.1% in 2019, before reaching 5.1% to 5.5% in 2020.

The current account deficit is forecast to be equivalent to 2.7% of GDP in 2019, and 2.5% to 3.0% of GDP in 2020.

Inflation is expected to be persistently low, having eased to 3.0% in November from 3.13% in October. It is projected to hit 3.1% in 2019, compared with the central bank's target of 3.0%, plus or minus 1%.

The bank also noted a moderation in global uncertainties amid prospects for a U.S.-China trade deal and recent Brexit developments.

In announcing the decision, the bank said it will track domestic and external developments "using its room to implement an accommodative policy mix" in order to achieve its inflation and growth targets.

The central bank is expected to return to its easing cycle next year given dovish comments from officials, as well as President Joko Widodo's directive for faster growth through investments, Nicholas Mapa, senior economist at ING, wrote in a note. "[B]ut we believe that policy easing would be timed during periods of IDR stability and when economic data such as export growth are positive."