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Jakarta Post

Rupiah inches closer to 15,000 over fears of COVID-19 pandemic

  • Adrian Wail Akhlas

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, March 16, 2020   /   07:25 pm
Rupiah inches closer to 15,000 over fears of COVID-19 pandemic US dollar banknotes at foreign exchange outlet PT Ayu Masagung in Jakarta on March 4. (Antara/Aprillio Akbar)

The rupiah inched closer to the Rp 15,000 psychological mark against the US dollar on Monday, as fears over the COVID-19 pandemic prompted investors to dump risky assets amid a global market rout.

The rupiah depreciated 1.05 percent to 14,932 against the greenback as of 3:59 p.m. Jakarta time, Bloomberg data shows.

According to Bank Indonesia (BI), the local currency weakened 0.02 percent to 14,818 against the dollar on the Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate (JISDOR).

The rupiah has fallen 3.7 percent in the past week, the worst in the region after the Malaysian ringgit, which fell almost 3 percent.

The yield on 10-year government bonds grew 7 percentage points on Monday from the previous day’s figure, indicating a drop in price to 97,767. Meanwhile, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) slumped 4.42 percent on Monday’s closing despite foreign investors buying a net Rp 238.11 billion (US$15.83 million).

The drop in Indonesian equities follows the continued rout on Asian markets during Monday trading, with Tokyo dropping 2.46 percent, Hong Kong 4.03 percent and Singapore 5.25 percent.

“The rupiah will be traded lower at around 14,940 to 14,500 per US dollar tomorrow [Tuesday],” said futures firm PT Garuda Berjangka president director Ibrahim.

Read also: ‘Triple market intervention’: BI buys bonds, rupiah to prop up prices amid viral rout

Indonesia has so far announced 117 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with five deaths. Globally, the pneumonia-like illness has infected more than 169,000 people and taken at least 6,500 lives.

Last week, BI revealed foreign outflows of around Rp 31.76 trillion in government bonds and Rp 4.87 trillion in Indonesian shares since January, as investors flee to safe-haven assets. The central bank has bought Rp 130 trillion in government debt papers since January, of which around Rp 110 trillion has been spent since COVID-19 spread outside China in late January.

“We are committed to remaining in the market to stabilize the rupiah by selling dollars as cash or domestic non-deliverables forward,” BI Governor Perry Warjiyo said recently.

If you want to help in the fight against COVID-19, we have compiled an up-to-date list of community initiatives designed to aid medical workers and low-income people in this article. Link: [UPDATED] Anti-COVID-19 initiatives: Helping Indonesia fight the outbreak