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Jakarta Post

Bank Indonesia ensures sufficient liquidity, sees signs of decline in capital outflows

  • Adrian Wail Akhlas

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, March 26, 2020   /   04:35 pm
Bank Indonesia ensures sufficient liquidity, sees signs of decline in capital outflows An officer in a protective clothes carries banknotes at the Bank Mandiri cash center in Jakarta on March 20. Protective clothing is being worn to anticipate the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus through banknotes. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

Bank Indonesia (BI) is ensuring the liquidity in the country’s financial system would be sufficient to meet the people’s needs in the coming months as massive capital outflows seen in the past several days have begun to decline.

BI Governor Perry Warjiyo said in Jakarta on Thursday that there is at least Rp 450 trillion (US$27.77 billion) in cash stored in banks and ATMs in Indonesia, which would be sufficient for the next six months.

“We have been working closely with banks in the last two weeks to boost their liquidity,” Perry told reporters on Thursday during an increased requirement for cash in the past several days to finance efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. “We want to assure the public that we have sufficient stocks of cash.”

Perry also said the central bank saw signs of easing capital outflows, driven by the announcement of a $2 trillion fiscal stimulus by the United States and to-be-announced stimulus by the European Union.

“The stimulus package has reduced pressure on a global scale and resulted in better sentiments for Indonesia’s financial markets,” Perry said, adding the central bank has since recorded a lessening capital outflow.

The rupiah appreciated as much as 1.8 percent against the US dollar to Rp 16,205 on Thursday, according to Bloomberg. The Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), meanwhile, jumped the most since 1999 by as much as 11 percent on Thursday’s trading, the best performer in the region, despite other Asian indices recording declines during the day.

The COVID-19 crisis is much different than Asia’s crisis in 1998 and the global financial crisis in 2008 as banks remain in a healthy condition despite weakening business activities and volatile financial markets, Perry said.

“We want to make sure that the situation is different than the crisis in 1998 and in 2008 as the banking industry remains healthy with low levels of non-performing loans and good financial market conditions,” he added.

Because of the pandemic, the central bank also plans to implement shorter trading hours and a shorter settlement period for transactions starting next week.

As of Tuesday, BI had injected liquidity of up to Rp 300 trillion into the financial markets and banks to help support the country’s crashing currency as foreign investors sold off Indonesian assets.

The central bank recorded a Rp 125.2 trillion capital outflow from government bonds, the stock market and BI certificates so far this year. Foreign investors sold Rp 112 trillion worth of government bonds and Rp 9.2 trillion worth of Indonesian shares, with most of the sell-offs recorded this month.