Tuesday, 04 September 2018 00:00

Rupiah Weakening and Opportunity for Local Raw Materials

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President Joko Widodo gathered his ministers and officials in the economic field to discuss the rupiah weakening. The meeting took place at the State Palace in Jakarta on Monday afternoon (3/8). During the meeting, President Joko Widodo asked his aides to explain to the public that the recent weakening of the rupiah against the US dollar was not worrying for the national economy. Chairman of the Financial Services Authority –OJK, Wimboh Santoso revealed this, when asked by reporters about President Joko Widodo's direction in the meeting.

Wimboh said that currently, OJK, Bank Indonesia and the government have prepared the steps to be taken in anticipating the weakening of the rupiah by strengthening exports to various countries. In addition, the government will also reduce imports of unnecessary goods. Quoting Bloomberg on Monday (3/9), the rupiah opened at Rp. 14,745 per US dollar; it was weakening compared to the previous trading closing figure of Rp. 14,710 per US dollar. If calculated from the beginning of the year, the rupiah weakened 9.03 percent.

What's interesting about Wimboh's statement is that the government plans to reduce the imports of unnecessary goods. According to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), during January-July this year, the imports of consumer goods recorded $9.9 billion dollars, up 27.03 percent, compared to the same period last year. While at the same time, imports of raw or supporting materials rose 22.9 percent.

Considering that Indonesia is rich in natural resources, the reduction in the imports of unnecessary goods can refer to the import of raw or supporting materials. Strengthening the exchange rate of the US dollar against the rupiah can provide an opportunity for increasing use of local raw materials.

The price of local raw materials, which has been considered more expensive, may be equivalent or even cheaper compared to imported raw materials. The strengthening of the US dollar has the opportunity to make a comparison of local and imported raw material prices to adjust. Raw materials for the leather, plastic and chemical industries made domestically are a logical choice for businesses because they are bought with rupiah.

The strengthening of the US dollar has reduced the competitiveness of imported raw materials in terms of prices. This situation can be used as an opportunity for domestic producers to produce goods with cheaper local raw materials. Then, the community can have high purchasing power to buy goods in cheaper prices, compared to imported goods whose prices are affected by the strengthening of the US dollar. For the government, this will make efforts to reduce imports.

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