Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 11:34:57 +0800
Sender: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@msu.edu>
From: Lynn August Linse <linsela@ROBUSTDC.COM>
Subject: FWD: IN: Indonesians panic buying of food
Indonesians go on panic buying of food items
By Susan Sim, Indonesian Correspondent,
Singapore Press Holdings
9 January 1998
JAKARTA -- Many supermarkets and grocery stalls here ran out of
essential food items yesterday as panic-stricken residents rushed
out to stockpile on supplies, driven by a myriad of rumours and
fears that shortage would send prices skyrocketing.
Shoppers began grabbing rice, cooking oil, flour, sugar, milk and
even cartons of instant noodles off shelves from 10 in the
morning, stall-keepers and supermarket staff told The Straits
Times during a random telephone check of shops throughout the
The buying frenzy sent prices soaring by 25 to 47 per cent at
local convenience stalls as traders raised prices.
The price of cooking oil, they said, almost doubled from 3,400
rupiah (about 75 cents) per kg to 5,000 rupiah within hours. Rice
prices charged up 37 per cent from 1,600 rupiah per kg to 2,200
The bigger chain stores did not raise prices, but when supplies
ran out, some decided not to re-stock so they could reprice the
items for the next day, staff said.
"Many of the small shops closed at 1 pm when we had nothing else
to sell," Mr Arif Dada, a grocery storeowner in Pasar Slipi,
said. "We were afraid there might be trouble or demonstrations if
people think we might not open again tomorrow."
In an effort to calm fears of food shortage and prevent a repeat
of yesterday's rush, state television ran, in its evening
bulletin, footage of ships off-loading sacks of rice at Tanjong
Priok harbour in north Jakarta.
"The social concern on the provision of rice is unreasonable and
the stock of the staple food is more than enough and confirmed by
the Logistics Bureau, Bulog," a newscaster reported, adding: "The
chairman of Bulog Bedi Amang had reiterated that the stock of
rice until March totals 1.4 million tonnes." More rice was also
being imported, as was sugar, she added.
The initial food run appeared to have been sparked off by rumours
that the government would issue new currency and devalue the
rupiah even further, as well as by news that the currency had
breached the psychological barrier of 10,000 rupiah to the US
A housewife said she bought 500,000 rupiah worth of food items
when she learnt from the Internet that the rupiah had fallen
again and that people were buying up food.
Even expatriates caught the fever. The PriceSmart membership
store next to the Jakarta Stock Exchange, which is popular with
foreign residents and local professionals, was packed with
hundreds of people by mid-afternoon.
Despite wild rumours of troop movements and gathering crowds, the
city was calm throughout the day. In the late afternoon, the
usual traffic gridlock began in downtown Jakarta as offices
closed and people went about their usual way. See Pages 48, 86
Copyright =A9 1997 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
Lynn August Linse, email@example.com
Robust DataComm Pte Ltd, 221 Henderson Road #04-10
Singapore 159557, Ph(65)272-2340 Fx(65)272-0582