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Indonesia surpasses Malaysia in 2015 reserves

  • Ayomi Amindoni

    The Jakarta Post

Fri, January 8 2016 | 02:58 pm
Indonesia surpasses Malaysia in 2015 reserves Bust a move: Bank Indonesia (BI) governor Agus Martowardojo dons a hip-hop outfit during an event in Jakarta on Aug. 7, before returning to his conservative look. It represents BI's effort to encourage exporters to shift their forex earnings from offshore banks to local banks. In 2015, the rupiah depreciated by 11 percent, while the ringgit suffered an 18 percent drop and led to lower forex reserves. (Courtesy of Agus Martowardojo)

Bust a move: Bank Indonesia (BI) governor Agus Martowardojo dons a hip-hop outfit during an event in Jakarta on Aug. 7, before returning to his conservative look. It represents BI's effort to encourage exporters to shift their forex earnings from offshore banks to local banks. In 2015, the rupiah depreciated by 11 percent, while the ringgit suffered an 18 percent drop and led to lower forex reserves. (Courtesy of Agus Martowardojo)

Indonesia'€™s foreign-exchange (forex) reserves registered a US$5 billion year-on-year decline in December to US$105.9 billion, but recorded an increase of the same amount on a monthly basis compared to November 2015--which stood at $100.2 billion.

It is four-times less than a similar decrease in neighboring Malaysia. Bank Negara announced a US$20 billion year-on-year drop in its forex reserves to $95.3 billion in December.

According to Bank Indonesia (BI) governor Agus Martowardojo, forex reserves shrunk to $105.9 billion after the central bank used some of the funds to intervene in the currency market in an effort to prop up the ailing rupiah. The government also disbursed some of the funds to pay external debts.

"We are grateful that our foreign exchange reserves are now $105 billion, compared to $111 billion last year. It is an ample amount to finance external debt or obligation payments and to pay for imports," he told reporters in Jakarta on Friday.

The rupiah's stability, Agus added, had become a central bank priority and would be maintained in 2016. "We feel that foreign reserves are another instrument that we must manage, in addition to exchange rates and interest rates," he said.

During 2015, the rupiah depreciated 11 percent or Rp 1,360 to Rp 13,800 per US dollar. The drop was lighter than that of the Malaysian ringgit. As reported by The Star online, the ringgit weakened 18 percent against the US dollar in the same period.

Agus added that the reserves were enough to provide resistance against external factors and maintain the sustainability of economic growth in 2016.

"We will support the government'€™s efforts to achieve 5.2 to 5.6 percent in growth. We also welcome the World Bank's projection that the Indonesian economy will grow 5.3 percent, as in line with the government'€™s target in the state budget," he said. (ags)(+)

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