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Rupiah hits lowest since 1997/98 Asian currency crisis

Indonesian Rupiah has touched lowest level in 17 years today, as falling dollar managed to gain against emerging counterparts.

Dollar is heavily down against developed market peers today but managed a sizable gain against emerging market peers.

Indonesia is Emerging Asia's one of the largest commodity exporters. Indonesia is large exporter of palm oil (whose price is hovering close to 2009/10 low), crude oil and coal. Commodity rout is pushing the value of Rupiah lower as market awaits first rate hike from US this year.

However, the situation is not like 1997, when local companies were not unable to payback huge foreign currency debt. The country also had large debt to GDP ratio, compared to 20% as of now.

However, lower prices of commodities are adding to current account deficit, which seems to widening in Indonesia. Moreover, this current account deficit is being funded by short term portfolio flows and with FED Reserve ready to hike rates this year, Indonesia remains vulnerable to foreign outflow.

With no respite for commodities in sight, Rupiah is likely to remain weak against developed market peers.

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January 17 23:30 UTC Released

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