Indonesia central bank to announce policy package to support sinking rupiah

A bank employee counting Indonesian rupiah bank notes in Jakarta on Aug 25, 2015.
A bank employee counting Indonesian rupiah bank notes in Jakarta on Aug 25, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) - Indonesia's central bank will announce a new policy package next month to support the rupiah , a central bank official said on Friday (Sept 25).

The plan will include a relaxation of requirements on forward dollar selling and a tax incentives to exporters to keep their dollars onshore, said Juda Agung, Bank Indonesia's executive director for monetary and economic policy.

The package will also aim to increase onshore foreign exchange supply for spot and forward transactions.

The rupiah is the second worst performing currency in emerging Asia after Malaysia's ringgit, having lost 18 per cent against the US dollar so far this year.

It headed for its steepest weekly drop in almost two years as foreign funds pulled money from stocks amid a worsening growth outlook for Indonesia and signs the US will raise interest rates in 2015.

The Indonesian currency slid 2.1 per cent, the most since November 2013, to 14,690 per US dollar as of 9:46 am in Jakarta, prices from local banks show. It fell 0.3 per cent on Friday (Sept 25) and reached 14,710 earlier, the weakest level since July 1998. Financial markets were closed on Thursday for a public holiday.

Overseas investors pulled US$104 million (S$148.1 million) from Indonesian shares in the three days through Wednesday, set for an 11th week of outflows, exchange data show. Parliament's finance commission cut the growth estimate in the 2016 budget to 5.3 per cent, from 5.5 per cent, on Tuesday. A gauge of US dollar strength rose to near a six-month high after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Thursday that raising interest rates in 2015 "will likely be appropriate."

"We're seeing persistent outflows from the stock market as growth is expected to remain quite soft," Irene Cheung, a currency strategist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Singapore, said before the announcement. "What would turn the flows around is if we see firm initiatives from the government to boost growth."

The economy can still expand by as much as 5 per cent this year, Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said Sept. 21, adding that the government has only met 60 per cent of its spending target for 2015. Gross domestic product increased 4.67 per cent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the least since 2009.