Indonesian Rupiah Appreciates 0.25% but Sentiment still Negative
The Indonesian rupiah exchange rate appreciated 0.25 percent to IDR 11,860 per US dollar according to the Bloomberg Dollar Index on Thursday (05/06). However, this is not expected to be the start of an appreciating trend for the currency as there are still various domestic and international factors that place pressure on the rupiah. Contrary to the Bloomberg Index, Bank Indonesia's benchmark rupiah rate (Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate, abbreviated JISDOR) depreciated 0.54 percent to IDR 11,874 against the US dollar today.
Indonesian Rupiah versus US Dollar (JISDOR):| Source: Bank Indonesia
Today (05/06), Bank Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardojo said that the competition between the two presidential candidates - Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto - increases political uncertainty in Southeast Asia's largest economy and therefore places pressure on the performance of the Indonesian rupiah. On 9 July 2014, the Indonesian people will vote for the country's next president. Although Governor of Jakarta Joko Widodo can rely on widespread popular support, the race is far from decided. In fact, the political party coalition that supports the Prabowo Subianto - Hatta Rajasa pair is larger (based on the results of the April 2014 legislative election) than the coalition that supports the Joko Widodo - Jusuf Kalla team. The market clearly favours Joko Widodo as president. This became clear when Widodo announced his candidacy on Friday 14 March 2014 and the benchmark stock index of Indonesia immediately surged over three percent.
Due to the influence of the presidential election on the rupiah, the currency is expected to improve after the election has passed and political certainty is restored.
The rupiah also has to cope with the negative impact of the USD $1.96 billion trade deficit in April 2014. Regarding this deficit, Governor Martowardojo stated that it is a normal trend that the trade balance is under more pressure in the second quarter of the year. Usually, the deficit improves in the third and fourth quarters of the year. Martowardojo stated that if all important macroeconomic indicators remain under control then the country's current account deficit will ease below the 3 percent of GDP level in 2014. In the first quarter of 2014 the current account deficit amounted to USD $4.06 billion or 2.06 percent of GDP. In 2013 (full year), this deficit had been 3.3 percent of GDP. Generally, a current account deficit below the 3 percent of GDP mark is considered as sustainable.
The April trade deficit was particularly caused by a steep decline of crude palm oil (CPO) and derivatives exports (-45 percent month-to-month) amid weakening external demand. Today, Finance Minister Chatib Basri said that he expects CPO exports to rebound in May 2014.