Currency News Update: Indonesian Rupiah Under Pressure
The Indonesian rupiah has been under pressure so far today (03/02) on concern that falling oil prices drag down other commodity prices, hence negatively affecting Indonesia's export performance. Yesterday, a global selloff in stocks occurred as oil prices were again touching the USD $30 per barrel mark. Emerging market currencies too are under pressure. The Indonesian rupiah had depreciated 0.79 percent to IDR 13,799 per US dollar (Bloomberg Dollar Index) by 12:55 pm local Jakarta time.
Today, the Indonesian rupiah may see its largest drop in a month on weak sentiments caused by the falling commodity prices. Indonesia's exports, which are highly dependent on commodities such as crude palm oil and coal, in full-year 2015 declined 14.6 percent (y/y) to USD $150.25 billion. Further deteriorating commodity prices will only exacerbate its export performance, limiting foreign exchange earnings. In December 2015, Indonesia's exports fell for a 15th straight month.
Earlier today, in an interview with Bloomberg TV, Indonesian Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said the Indonesian currency should trade between IDR 13,500 and IDR 13,600 per US dollar this year (provided that global conditions will not deteriorate). Most analysts, however, are skeptical about this view and put the rupiah at around IDR 14,500 at the year-end.
So far this year, the rupiah has performed remarkably well, nearly outperforming all other emerging Asian currencies (with the exception of Malaysia’s ringgit and Thailand’s baht), despite volatile markets brought about by turmoil in China, falling oil prices, and the recent Federal Reserve interest rate hike.
Meanwhile, the central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) finally decided to cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 7.25 percent at its January policy meeting. This move managed to lure inflows into Indonesia's sovereign bonds.
Bank Indonesia's benchmark rupiah rate (Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate, abbreviated JISDOR) depreciated 1.00 percent to IDR 13,757 per US dollar on Wednesday (03/02).
Indonesian Rupiah versus US Dollar (JISDOR):| Source: Bank Indonesia