EMERGING MARKETS-Indonesia’s rupiah firms as central bank seen holding rates steady

21-Apr-2021 Intellasia | Reuters | 5:02 AM Print This Post

The Indonesian rupiah gained on Tuesday ahead of a Bank Indonesia (BI) policy meeting where the central bank is widely expected to stand pat on interest rates, resisting any further easing to foster currency stability. Other emerging Asian currencies rose across the board, reflecting a broadly weaker U.S dollar. South Korea’s won and the Singapore dollar added 0.5 percent and 0.3%, respectively.

The rupiah, which is among the worst performing currencies in the region so far this year, advanced 0.3%. Stocks in Jakarta were down 0.8%.

The currency has already depreciated more than 3 percent against the dollar this year, leaving policymakers wary about delivering further rates cuts lest it creates rupiah instability and forces out foreign funds.

The expected hold on rates “is not a comfortable extension of policy pause to assess the recovery… Instead, this is a an uncomfortable compromise at the current constrained status quo,” analysts at Mizuho said in a note.

“Risks to rupiah stability necessitate an inconvenient restraint, especially as signs of stress on the rupiah in recent weeks raise the stakes of putting through more easing at this juncture.”

Mizuho analysts said reports that President Joko Widodo is backing a bill to expand BI’s mandate is seen by many as diluting the central bank’s independence, which in turn is denting confidence in rupiah-denominated assets.

Last year, Widodo’s administration and some lawmakers drafted a bill to expand BI’s mandate, raising concerns among foreign investors who hold a major chunk of the country’s debt over greater government oversight of the central bank.

More broadly, the US dollar eased partly as the euro strengthened overnight as the vaccination programme in Europe continues briskly, while U.S Treasury yields are off their highs reached recently.

“Bond yields have stalled. There is a optimism here that we could see a stronger European growth rebound coming and that is the backdrop that argues for stronger Asian currencies,” said Sim Moh Siong, FX strategist at Bank of Singapore.

The Taiwan dollar strengthened 0.5 percent and hit a 1-1/2 month high ahead of export data for March which analysts expect will rise for a 13th consecutive month.


** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields were down 0.7 basis points at 6.468%

** Bank Maspion down 6.9 percent and among top losers on the Jakarta stock index

** In the Philippines, top index gainer was Puregold Price Club Inc, up 3.31%

Asia stock indexes and currencies

at 0422 GMT



Japan +0.04 -4.50 -1.92 6.06

China +0.24 +0.51 0.29 0.42

India +0.00 -2.42 0.85 3.57

Indonesi +0.34 -3.14 -0.78 0.44


Malaysia +0.17 -2.31 0.26 -1.40

Philippi +0.16 -0.57 0.39 -9.17


S.Korea +0.51 -2.28 0.49 11.87

Singapor +0.32 -0.43 -0.05 12.81


Taiwan +0.45 +1.44 0.09 17.29

Thailand -0.03 -3.97 0.03 8.69



Category: Indonesia

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