When we look at the long-term activity in the Indonesian rupiah, we have seen a surprising level of strength when viewing the activity seen in recent months. This has been surprising for a few different reasons, as this is not something that can be said for markets in emerging Asia as a whole. This essentially suggests that economic activity in the region has been somewhat disjointed and that trends visible in one country cannot necessarily be expected in another. But when we look at chart activity in the rupiah itself, we can see that the broader trends have started to change over the last two months.
20 January 2020 (closed)
USD/IDR (13,678) +20.00 +0.15%
EUR/IDR (15,155) +4.41 +0.03%
Jakarta Composite Index (6,245.04) -46.61 -0.74%
Richard Cox is a university teacher in international trade and finance, focusing on lessons in macroeconomics and price behavior in the financial markets. He is a syndicated writer, with works appearing on CNBC, NASDAQ, Economy Watch, Motley Fool, and Wired.com.
Investing strategies utilize technical and fundamental analysis of all major asset classes (equities, energy, foreign exchange, and precious metals). Market strategies generally adopt time horizons of one to six months.
Columns of Richard Cox
For a good portion of this year, the stock market in Indonesia has been met with selling pressure. There is a reasonable basis for this, as we have seen some disappointments in corporate earnings that have led some of the biggest names in the country to trade lower. But there are external events at work, as well. And some of these factors might not be readily apparent to many regional investors. One of these is the sovereign debt situation in the Eurozone.
Over the last year, the Indonesian rupiah has been rising when compared to a wide variety of world currencies. Some of the more pronounced strength has been seen against the US dollar, which has been travelling in the opposite direction for most of the same period. To many investors that are focused on the currency markets, it might appear as though these two currencies are largely unrelated. But when we look at the trends that have been developing over the last year, it quickly becomes clear that this is just not the case.
Stock markets in Indonesia have been particularly volatile in recent weeks, and this has left many investors wondering about whether or not the rally that started last October is still viable and ready to continue. Last month, the MSCI Indonesia Index (which trades under the stock symbol EIDO) took a large drop - from well above the 6,500 mark to below 6,000. From a percentage perspective, a move like this can generate significant losses for those that bought into Indonesian stocks while they were still at elevated levels.
When we look at market activity in the Indonesian rupiah, some very clear trends have started to emerge. When viewed against the US dollar the rupiah has seen pronounced weakness over this time frame. Many investors have started to view this activity as overdone and we have started to see analyst forecasts calling for more strength in the rupiah over the next few months. But there are also arguments that can be made against this outlook and it will be important for those investing in Indonesian assets to understand some of these factors, so that proper positioning can be undertaken.