Ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting (14-15 March) investor sentiment remains subdued with thin trade in Asia's stock markets. Most, if not all, market participants expect the Fed to raise its benchmark Fed Funds Rate by 25 basis points supported by recently strong US jobs reports. The main questions now are whether the US rate hike is already priced in (in markets) or will we see big (yet temporary) capital outflows from emerging markets, including Indonesia? And secondly, will the Fed raise its interest rate environment faster than expected in the remainder of 2017?
While the performance of most stock markets in Asia are rather flat on Tuesday afternoon (14/03), Indonesia's benchmark Jakarta Composite Index is rising rather steeply, having climbed 0.61 percent to 5,442.42 points by 13:20 pm local Jakarta time, a four-month high. This increase is led by financials and energy stocks.
Shares of Bank Central Asia (BCA), Indonesia's biggest lender by market value, rose 1.13 percent to IDR 15,725 a piece in the first trading session on Tuesday (14/03) after the company had released its FY-2016 corporate earnings on Monday. The bank's net profit rose 14.4 percent to IDR 20.6 trillion (approx. USD $1.5 billion), an all-time high annual net profit for the company, buoyed by the government's tax amnesty program (which helped to lower the company's cost of funds and boosted its current accounts and saving accounts funds).
Meanwhile, Bank Indonesia - the central bank of Indonesia - is expected to maintain its benchmark interest rate (7-day reverse repurchase rate) at 4.75 percent after completion of its monthly policy meeting on Thursday (16/03). Bank Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardojo stated earlier this week that the central bank is ready to stabilize Indonesia's rupiah in case the looming Federal Reserve decision triggers significant volatility on financial markets.
The Indonesian rupiah had depreciated 0.03 percent to IDR 13,360 per US dollar by 13:25 pm local Jakarta time on Tuesday (14/03) according to the Bloomberg Dollar Index. However, Bank Indonesia's benchmark rupiah rate (Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate, abbreviated JISDOR) appreciated 0.03 percent to IDR 13,360 per US dollar.
Indonesian Rupiah versus US Dollar (JISDOR):| Source: Bank Indonesia