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Rupiah Approaches Three-Year Low on Demand for Dollars, Outflows

Indonesia’s rupiah approached its weakest level since 2009 on speculation companies are increasing purchases of the dollar for year-end payments and after global funds cut share holdings. Government bonds advanced.

Overseas investors sold $160 million more local stocks than they bought this month through yesterday, following net sales of $319 million in November, exchange data show. The central bank maintained its benchmark interest rate at a record-low 5.75 percent today, as predicted by all 21 economists in a Bloomberg survey. The nation’s current-account deficit this year may be 2.4 percent, the largest in data going back to 1997, Bank Indonesia said in a statement today.

“It is difficult for the rupiah not to test its lows with the current-account deficit reducing the supply of dollars in the country,” said Rully Nova, a currency analyst at PT Bank Himpunan Saudara 1906 in Jakarta. “Bank Indonesia cannot reduce its rate despite stable inflation due to the exchange rate.”

The rupiah weakened 0.1 percent to 9,641 per dollar as of 4:02 p.m. in Jakarta, prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg show. The currency reached 9,715 earlier, near a three-year low of 9,733 touched yesterday.

Bank Indonesia will remain in the market to guard the rupiah, Governor Darmin Nasution said yesterday. One-month implied volatility, a measure of expected moves in exchange rates used to price options, held at 5.5 percent, the highest since Oct. 30.

The Finance Ministry will conduct a debt swap today, offering 6.13 percent bonds due in May 2028, it said in a statement on its website, without providing specific details.

The yield on the government’s 7 percent securities maturing in May 2022 dropped one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 5.37 percent, prices from the Inter Dealer Market Association show.

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