The rupiah rose 1.1 percent versus the dollar and touched its strongest in more than six weeks on Tuesday. (Antara Photo/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

Rupiah Outperforms Cautious Peers Ahead of US Mid-Term Elections


NOVEMBER 06, 2018

The rupiah surged over 1 percent on Tuesday on improved dollar liquidity, thanks to a recent government bond issuance, while most other Asian currencies stuck to a tight range as caution kicked in ahead of mid-term elections in the United States.

The Indonesian currency rose 1.1 percent against the dollar, touching its strongest level in more than six weeks during the session.

Fakhrul Fulvian, an economist at Trimegah Securities in Jakarta, said a $750 million bond issue by state energy company Pertamina had pumped dollars into the market.

This helped strengthen the currency, pushing it below the psychologically key 15,000 level to the greenback. The embattled rupiah has gained about 1.5 percent since the bond issue last week.

"Recent gains in the currency suggest Bank Indonesia is likely to stay on hold at its meeting next week," ANZ said in a note on Monday.

The rupiah has declined about 8.6 percent this year and had prompted the central bank to curb some imports as well as hike its key interest rate several times this year to shore up the currency.

China's yuan flitted within range and was 0.1 percent higher on Tuesday. Polls widely predict a split Congress in US midterm elections later in the day, seeing the Democratic Party winning the House of Representatives but Republicans holding the Senate.

Analysts said a Democratic Congress could roll back some of the current trade policy measures and help emerging currencies.

Taiwan's dollar inched down 0.1 percent, ahead of the country's October headline inflation rate, which is expected to decrease, according to a Reuters poll.

The Korean won was also marginally lower at 1123.90 to the dollar, while Thailand's baht weakened 0.1 percent. Malaysian markets were closed for a holiday.

The peso strengthened 0.3 percent against the dollar after annual inflation steadied in October despite expectations of easing, likely keeping the Philippine central bank on course for further policy tightening.

Month-on-month inflation eased to 0.3 percent. This backed central bank governor Nestor Espenilla's comments that inflationary pressures are moderating, which should prompt a return to the country's inflation target by 2019.

The central bank has raised interest rates at its last four consecutive meetings by a total of 150 basis points in its bid to cool inflation. The country's stubborn inflation can be pinned to its exposure to large oil bills and the volatile peso.