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Indonesia president Joko Widodo's rating hits six-year low as prices rise

Indonesia president Joko Widodo's rating hits six-year low as prices rise

FILE PHOTO: Indonesian President Joko Widodo listens as U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during an event with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as part of the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit, in Washington, U.S., May 13, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo's approval rating has hit a six-year low amid dissatisfaction over soaring cooking oil prices and the perceived failure of an export ban to swiftly reduce the rising cost of goods, a new poll showed on Sunday (May 15).

Figures released by pollster Indikator Politik Indonesia showed that satisfaction with the nation's president, widely known by as Jokowi, fell to 58.1 per cent this May.

The figures are the lowest rating since December 2015 when the president's approval slumped to 53 per cent.

The decline, which follows a 12-point drop from January to April this year, comes as Southeast Asia's largest economy has struggled to reign in domestic cooking oil prices, a household staple in Indonesia, and after a shock decision to ban palm oil exports late last month.

Indonesia is the world's largest producer of palm oil and the policy decision stunned global markets.

At the time president Jokowi said the need for affordable food trumped revenue concerns, and the ban would be lifted after domestic needs were met.

Conducted from May 5 to May 10, the Indikator survey said the decline in Jokowi's approval was largely related to the rising cost of cooking oil and flow-on inflationary effect, and the gap between policy expectations and realities on the ground, after the export ban failed to see prices drop significantly after the decision.

The poll, which surveyed 1,200 people, found that while almost 90 per cent supported the export ban, more than 72 per cent said cooking oil prices remained less affordable, or not affordable at all.

The presidential palace was not immediately available for comment.

Chief Economics Minister Airlangga Hartarto has said the export ban would stay in place until bulk cooking oil prices drop to 14,000 rupiah per litre across the country.

As of last Thursday, trade ministry data showed bulk cooking oil was being sold at 16,600 rupiah per litre.

Source: Reuters/ta
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