Many Jakartans invest their money in foreign exchange, keeping up with the conversion rates and economy news that might affect one sort of currency compared to another. There are stories where forex investors made it big - the story of the Indonesian who became a billionaire because of investing in the Iraqi dinar pre-invasion - but many times, there are so many factors that affect the value of a currency that it can't be measured. Hence, investing in forex is often like gambling - you know what the safe bets are, but you might get a bigger windfall if you invest in the more exotic bets. Even more comparisons to gambling arise when results of a day's work are almost the same, whether you did painstaking research or just threw some money in and sat back while the market rolls.
These guys are no doubt making good money with the US dollar rising and rising compared to the rupiah - at our expense - while the economy slows due to various businesses tying themselves up to the US dollar value, which is surprisingly still considered a stable standard (which it isn't anymore). Businesses the country over are expecting lower sales of their products, i.e. electronics which are usually based on the market's US dollar value. In the meantime, it is becoming more expensive to export products overseas, as rates for shipping, handling and customs are pegged to the US dollar as well.
The current scarcity of the US dollar - and thus partly the reason for its rising price - is also indirectly caused by the US economic recession; where individuals and companies are scrambling to get any dollar they can get to revive the economy. It's strange when the people in the US financial institutions screw up, the rest of the world ultimately winds up paying the price. The perceived stability of the US dollar - and the seemingly endless supply of it - was a big lie, proven by the fact that the US banks seemed to lose billions of dollars, just like that. So now they want their real dollars back.
So instead of us strangling ourselves worrying about somebody else's currency, why don't we just worry about our own Rupiah? Here are simple things you can do:
- always buy domestic products. Your money spent should go back to Indonesians, not some overseas investor
- stop forex trading - it just makes matters worse. Start investing in local stock or a local company. Yep, you heard me.
- try to avoid buying stuff that is pegged to the US dollar. I know that sometimes it can't be avoided, but try to limit it all the same. The stores/companies that put dollar prices on their products transfer the risk of exchange rate differences to the customer.
- take a holiday - in Indonesia. Spend your well-earned Rupiah on local hotels, restaurants and so on. Don't spend all your money overseas unless you don't have a choice.
- Save money. If you save money in the bank, the banks stay healthy and keep the Rupiah flowing properly.
Saving the country means you have to do something as well, and these are a few things that are very simple and can be done by anybody. Let's forget about the politicians battling it out for votes and make the change ourselves