On Wednesday (26/03), most emerging Asian currencies appreciated against the US dollar as the region's shares hit a two-week high on upbeat US economic data in combination with reduced concern over the crisis in Crimea (Ukraine). However, the Indonesian rupiah exchange rate was one of the exceptions to this trend on today's trading day. Based on the Bloomberg Dollar Index, the rupiah had depreciated 0.16 percent to IDR 11,412 at 16:15 local Jakarta time. Meanwhile, the Chinese yuan recovered some of its earlier losses.
Upbeat US data included March 2014 consumer confidence that rose to its highest level since January 2008 as well as US house prices that grew solidly in January 2014. For investors, these data indicate that the recent slowdown of the US economy was more due to the winter period rather than any structural growth problem.
Concern about the Crimea crisis eased as the G7 members refrained from implementing more damaging sanctions against Russia (unless Russia will go beyond the borderline of Crimea) in the meeting held in the Netherlands. Easing concerns provide appetite for riskier assets in emerging markets. Investors also continue to speculate that China will implement measures to boost its slowing economy.
The Indonesian rupiah exchange, however, was one of the few emerging market currencies that depreciated on Wednesday (26/03). This was due to month-end dollar demand from local importers but also because market participants are waiting for the release of various economic data. These data include March 2014 inflation and the February 2014 trade data. Statistics Indonesia is expected to release these data on Tuesday 1 April 2014.
Bank Indonesia stated that it would not like to see the rupiah strengthen too much yet as a weaker rupiah is good for exports. Through increased exports, the country's current account deficit can be curbed further.
Bank Indonesia's benchmark rupiah rate (Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate, abbreviated JISDOR) depreciated 0.45 percent on Wednesday (26/03) to IDR 11,408 per US dollar.
Investors are also still adjusting to last week's new reality created by the Federal Reserve, when it announced to continue monetary tightening by curtailing the bond-buying program by another chunk of USD $10 billion as well as a possible aggressive interest rate hike in 2015 and 2016.