Indonesia wants more bilateral forex swaps to aid rupiah: Minister

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesia's central bank plans to make a currency swap deal with South Korea in addition to one it is expected to sign next week with China, Industry Minister M.S. Hidayat said on Tuesday.

He said it also would try to increase one it recently signed with Japan to add to its arsenal to defend the rupiah, which is Asia's worst performing currency after falling some 16 per cent this year.

But the director general of the Bank of Korea's international department, Ryoo Sang-dai, denied there was any deal. He declined further comment.

A spokesman for Bank Indonesia, which would be responsible for any currency swap deals, declined comment. He said there were negotiations but did not name any country.

"Probably China will sign it on Oct. 2-3, when the Chinese president visits Indonesia. We have asked (the information) to be announced immediately as it will give a positive signal to the market," Indonesia's industry minister said after a meeting on the economy with government officials and the central bank.

Last Friday, another industry ministry official said the swap with China would be signed during President Xi Jinping's visit to Jakarta and be for US$15 billion (S$18 billion) , a figure Hidayat repeated. Bank Indonesia also declined comment on last Friday's report.

In 2009, the People's Bank of China approved a 100 billion yuan (S$20.48 billion) bilateral swap deal with Indonesia, which expired last year.

Hidayat said that Indonesia will sign a bilateral swap of about $10 billion with the Bank of Korea and will see if it is possible to increase a $12 billion swap deal that the central banks of Japan and Indonesia renewed in August.

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