The Indonesian rupiah exchange rate depreciated slightly against the US dollar on Monday (18/08). At the end of the trading day the rupiah had weakened 0.07 percent to IDR 11,687 per US dollar according to the Bloomberg Dollar Index. This performance was in line with the performance of most other emerging Asian currencies as market participants are awaiting the Federal Reserve's annual Jackson Hole symposium which may provide new information about US short-term interest rates and other policy strategies.
Moreover, investors will be interested in the release of the minutes of the Federal Market Open Committee (FOMC) this week. As US consumer data were not good speculation emerged that these data may form a reason to postpone US monetary tightening. University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for August 2014 unexpectedly fell to 79.2, from 81.8 in the previous month.
On the domestic side, market players were not happy to learn that the outgoing Indonesian government refused to include real reforms in the revised 2015 State Budget, which was presented by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Friday (15/08). The market was particularly disappointed to see that the allocation for fuel subsidies had been raised again (to IDR 291.1 trillion) in the budget. However, soon-to-be-president Joko Widodo quickly responded by stating that he believes that the energy subsidies as set in the 2015 State Budget are too high and will try to find room to lower these subsidies and improve efficiency of the current subsidy programs. This response made a positive impact on the rupiah’s performance and thus limited its weakening today.
The market is also still waiting for the ruling of Indonesia’s Constitutional Court on defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto’s legal challenge. Subianto claims that massive fraud took place during the voting and counting process in Indonesia’s July presidential election. The Constitutional Court may announce its final ruling on 21 August 2014. Few expect that Subianto has a chance of winning.
Meanwhile, Bank Indonesia's benchmark rupiah rate (Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate, abbreviated JISDOR) appreciated 0.10 percent to IDR 11,681 per US dollar on Monday (18/08).