indonesian rupiah notes bills only stack colorful

Indonesia Currency Spotlight: Indonesian Rupiah

In Business and Currency by Kyle RammlerLeave a Comment

Learn more about the Indonesian rupiah, the currency of one of the world’s most populous countries! While it may be one of the lowest valued currencies on the market, it still holds much importance for an up and coming player in the global economy.

  • Indonesian Rupiah Symbol: Rp
  • Indonesia Currency Code: IDR
  • Subunit: sen 1/100 (obsolete)
  • Coins: Rp 100, 200, 500, 1000
  • Banknotes: Rp 1000, 2000, 5000, 10 000, 20 000, 50 000, 100 000
  • Indonesian GDP (nominal): US$895.677 billion (16th)
  • Central Bank: Bank Indonesia

History of Indonesian Currency

Coinage has been in use in Indonesia since the 9th century. After the Dutch colonized the country, they introduced their own currency (the Netherlands Indies gulden). It wasn’t until the end of World War II and proclamation of Indonesian independence that the country started issuing their own currency (and even then, it remained a ‘black market’ currency for a few years). Finally, in 1949, the Indonesian rupiah was internationally recognized as the currency of the newly independent nation.

Throughout much of the 20th century, the rupiah has been hit hard by rampant inflation. This reached a breaking point in 1965, with a new currency issued at a value of 1 new to 1000 old. While this stabilized things for a time, the late 90’s Asian financial crisis reduced the value substantially – even leading to the introduction of a 100,000 rupiah note, which was about the equivalent of 12 US dollars. There are currently plans for another re-denomination in order to curb the miniscule value of the rupiah (once again at a rate of 1000:1), though evidently this won’t be achieved until 2018.

Indonesian Rupiah Notes and Coins

There are two different sets of coins in circulation at this time, dating from 1991-1998 and from 1999 onwards.

Value Issued Obverse Reverse
Rp 50 1999 Garuda Pancasila (national emblem of Indonesia) Kepodang bird, value
Rp 100 1999 Garuda Pancasila Palm cockatoo bird, value
Rp 200 2003 Garuda Pancasila Bali starling bird, value
Rp 500 1991 Garuda Pancasila Jasmine flower, value
Rp 500 1997 Garuda Pancasila Jasmine flower, value
Rp 500 2003 Garuda Pancasila Jasmine flower, value
Rp 1,000 1993 Garuda Pancasila Palm tree, value
Rp 1,000 2010 Garuda Pancasila, value Angklung, Gedung Sate

The current series of rupiah banknotes dates from 2000 to 2010.

Value Issued Colour Obverse Reverse
Rp 1,000 2000 Turquoise Captain Pattimura Maitara and Tidore islands with boating fisherman
Rp 2,000 2009 Brown Antasari – Prince of Banjar Dayak dancers – South Borneo
Rp 5,000 2001 Yellow Tuanku Imam Bonjol Songket weaver – Tanah Datar
Rp 10,000 2010 Blue-Purple Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Limas House – Palembang, South Sumatra
Rp 20,000 2004 Green Oto Iskandar di Nata Tea plantation – West Java
Rp 50,000 2005 Blue I Gusti Ngurah Rai Pura Ulun Danu Bratan – Bali
Rp 100,000 2004 Red Sukarno, Hatta DPR/MPR Building

Value of the IDR

The IDR is currently one of the lowest valued currencies on the market. While inflation has long been an issue, the Asian financial crisis in the late 90’s tanked the value to a staggering degree. The drops haven’t been as sharp since, however the IDR has still steadily declined against the USD in the years since then. In October of 2015, the value slid to a low of 14,735.5 IDR to 1 USD. It has since recovered slightly to around 13,500 IDR to 1 USD, though the plans still remain in place for a re-denomination.

1 USD is currently (10:30AM, May 27 2016) valued at 13,602.50 IDR

USD us dollar indonesian rupiah IDR rate watch graph 5 years

IDR to 1 USD over the past 5 years (courtesy of RateWatch)

1 CAD is currently (10:30AM, May 27 2016) valued at 10,433.59 IDR

CAD canadian dollar indonesian rupiah IDR rate watch graph 5 years

IDR to 1 CAD over the past 5 years (courtesy of RateWatch)

Indonesian Economy

Despite the incredibly low relative value of the rupiah, the Indonesian economy is classified as emerging and newly industrialized, and is a member of the G-20 major economies group. As of 2014, it was the 3rd fastest growing economy in Asia behind China and India. Agriculture remains a key component, accounting for over 14% of GDP and 41% of the workforce. Indonesia is also a member of OPEC (one of the few from outside the Middle East), however production has declined in recent years – leading to the country having to import oil themselves. Other major industries and markets include tin, electricity, and a growing tourism industry.

While the generally good growth is promising, there are a multitude of challenges facing the Indonesian economy. These include wasteful spending of public resources, labour issues, inequality, and, of course, inflation.

indonesian rupiah coins 1000 pile reverse

Final Thoughts

While the above issues are certainly not going away anytime soon, Indonesia has still carved out a major place for itself in the global economy – and we can expect that portion to grow in the coming years.

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For a broader understanding of Indonesian history and culture check out our Country of the Week profile. For information about traveling to Indonesia then be sure to follow our Travel Guide.

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