The Indian rupee depreciated 0.4 percent to 58.7150 per US dollar on Monday (26/05), the most in a month on speculation that India's central bank intervened to deliberately weaken the currency after it had gained 2.8 percent against the US dollar this month (becoming the best performing Asian currency). The rupee gained due to optimism about the new government's ability to boost the economy (which has slowed down considerably in recent years). However, the central bank expects that a too strong rupee will hurt the country's exports.
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Rising global stock indices at the end of last week continued to impact positively on Asian stock indices on Monday (21/10), including Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index (IHSG). Moreover, speculation that the Federal Reserve will not alter its quantitative easing program until early next year also brought along positive market sentiments. This is expected to result in the inflow of US dollars into emerging markets. On Monday, the IHSG rose 0.70 percent to 4,578.18 despite continued foreign selling and rupiah depreciation.
Contrary to Thursday's trading day (05/09) when the benchmark stock index of Indonesia (IHSG) opened strong but ended in the red, on Friday (06/09) it was the other way round. The IHSG started negative but ended the day 0.53 percent up to 4,072.35 points. Factors that made a negative impact on the IHSG were the continueing fall of the rupiah as well as speculation that Indonesia's foreign exchange reserves would decline again at end-August. However, a number of rising Asian indices influenced the IHSG in a positive way.
Although Indonesia is one of the victims of the reversal of investment flows from emerging markets to developed markets, it is still far from a crisis. Global uncertainty regarding the possible ending of the Federal Reserve's monthly USD $85 billion bond-buying program (QE3) and, to a lesser extent, the possible invasion of the US in Syria have worried investors and resulted in the withdrawal of funds from emerging markets. Funds are flowing back to western developed countries that have recently been showing signs of continued economic recovery.
Despite being up at the start of the trading day, Indonesia's main stock index (IHSG) was under pressure for the remainder of Wednesday (31/07) due to investors' appetite for profit taking. Indonesian company reports (Semester I-2013) were mixed and, in combination with other mixed Asian indices, it made many investors wait and see for the meeting of the Federal Reserve first. Asian indices suffered because of Malaysia's and India's downgrade by Fitch Ratings. This triggered speculation whether Indonesia's outlook will be cut as well.
The Indonesian rupiah (IDR) is experiencing one of its worst losing streaks in a decade. On Friday (19/07), the currency weakened to IDR 10,070 against the US dollar, which implies a devaluation of 4.14% in 2013 so far. The central bank of Indonesia, Bank Indonesia, does all it can to support the currency: the country's lender of last resort supplies dollars to the market triggering the reduction of foreign reserves from USD $105 million at end-May to $98 million at end-June, and raised its benchmark interest rate (BI Rate) by 50 bps to 6.50%.
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