Indonesian rupiah falls most since 2011 over Trump’s protectionist trade policy fears

Indonesia’s rupiah dropped as much as 3% to reach a five-month low of 13,545—the biggest decline since September 2011


The Indonesian rupiah led declines in Asian currencies as sentiment toward emerging-market assets soured on speculation a Donald Trump administration will enforce protectionist trade policies. Photo: Bloomberg
The Indonesian rupiah led declines in Asian currencies as sentiment toward emerging-market assets soured on speculation a Donald Trump administration will enforce protectionist trade policies. Photo: Bloomberg

Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta: Indonesia’s rupiah plunged the most in five years, prompting the nation’s central bank to say it stepped in to stabilize the market.

The rupiah sank 2.7% to 13,495 per dollar as of 9.47am in Jakarta, set for the biggest decline since September 2011, according to prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg. It dropped as much as 3% to reach a five-month low of 13,545.

The currency weakened after a few short-term investors rushed to the non-deliverable forwards market to hedge, causing the contracts to drop significantly, Nanang Hendarsah, head of financial market deepening at Bank Indonesia, said by mobile phone text message. The monetary authority is already in the market to stabilize the rupiah, and doesn’t see much fund outflows and expects the move to be temporary, he said.

The rupiah led declines in Asian currencies as sentiment toward emerging-market assets soured on speculation a Donald Trump administration will enforce protectionist trade policies. The US could drop out of Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal within his first 100 days in office, Politico reported, citing an internal transition team document.

Trump effect

“The rupiah fell in response to declines in the region, so it isn’t domestically driven,” said Branko Windoe, head of treasury at PT Bank Central Asia, Indonesia’s largest bank by market value. “We’ve seen since the US election, looking at the policies outlined during Trump’s campaign, people are trying to calculate the impact on Asia, especially on trade.”

South Korea’s won sank 1.4%, Thailand’s baht weakened 0.6% and the Philippine peso slid 0.5%. The prospect of increased US spending under Trump’s presidency propelled the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index to the highest since March on Thursday.

The drop in the rupiah was fueled by “thin liquidity and strong dollar sentiment,” said Wu Mingze, a foreign-exchange trader in Singapore at INTL FCStone Inc., a Nasdaq-listed global payments-service provider. “Emerging markets are going full crazy at the moment.”

Indonesia’s 10-year sovereign bond yield was little changed at 7.47%, while that on five-year notes dropped two basis points to 7.11%. Bloomberg

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