Indonesian Rupiah General Info
The Indonesian rupiah is the world’s thirty-first most traded currency (as of 2016) and contributes to 0.2% of foreign exchange market turnover.
Having been ravaged by inflation for much of its history, the rupiah is now one of the least valuable units of currency in the world, requiring more than 13,000 of them to buy a single US dollar (as of 2017).
Officially, the rupiah is subdivided into 100 sen, although sen are not in active use in Indonesia since they are essentially worthless.
As an ‘exotic’ currency, participation in the market for rupiahs is naturally less than in the markets for more established currencies, such as euros or New Zealand dollars. For this reason, the price you will pay to change your money into or from rupiahs (the “price” being equivalent to a money changer’s buy-sell spread) will be significantly higher relative to the amount being changed than it would be for one of those other, more established currencies.
As an exotic, the rupiah is also considered riskier than currencies from major developed nations, which means that its value will fall against the FX majors (especially JPY, USD, CHF, GBP and EUR) during periods of economic uncertainty or when global geopolitical risk is elevated, or during bouts of high market volatility.
Since 1998, the rupiah’s lowest valuation against the US dollar came in June 1998 at the height of the Asian currency crisis, when USD/IDR reached 16,650. Its post-1998 high occurred in July 1999 when USD/IDR fell to 6,515.Read our Travel Guide to Indonesia
IDR - Currency Market News
In the first eight months of 2017, the rupiah was remarkably stable against the US dollar, trading within a range equivalent to just 2.25%. The dollar ended August buying Rp.13,340.
In August, Dutch bank ABN Amro upgraded their forecasts for the rupiah. The bank now sees the dollar fetching Rp.13,400 at year-end, down from a previous estimate of Rp.13,700, and Rp.13,200 at the end of 2018, from Rp.13,300.
Against other FX majors, the rupiah remained weak. In late August, against the euro (Rp.16,095), Swiss franc (Rp.14,155) and Japanese yen (Rp.123.16), the rupiah fell to 22-month, 20-month and 9-month lows respectively. And in early September, against the Canadian dollar (Rp.10,691) it fell to a 22-month low.
Economic conditions in Indonesia are now much better than they once were and this includes a move in annual inflation back below 4% (for the year ending July-31). Over the past two decades, inflation has averaged a little more than 10% in Indonesia.
“Political and economic conditions are currently stable,” said Bank Indonesia governor Agus Matowardojohe in July.