October 24, 2018 / 8:49 AM / 8 months ago

Indonesia's Pertamina aims to reduce spending in U.S. dollar

JAKARTA, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Indonesia’s state-owned energy company Pertamina is looking to reduce spending of foreign exchange in U.S. dollars by seeking crude oil purchases in other currencies, a senior company official told Reuters on Wednesday.

“The (Integrated Supply Chain unit), as executor of the tender, has requested to use other currencies apart from U.S. dollars, including rupiah,” Basuki Trikora Putra, Pertamina’s director of corporate marketing, told Reuters.

“It’s in response to current conditions to reduce spending of foreign exchange in U.S. dollars.”

The rupiah hovered on Wednesday near its weakest since the Asian financial crisis of 1998, having fallen nearly 12 percent this year against the dollar. It is one of the worst performers among emerging Asian currencies so far in 2018.

Putra’s comments come a day after Pertamina sought to buy crude oil for delivery in the first quarter of 2019 using currencies other than the U.S. dollar, according to a tender document reviewed by Reuters this week.

The move is seen as a tool for Jakarta to curb a widening current account deficit caused by rising oil prices and as it tries to keep Indonesia’s currency afloat.

Pertamina is looking to buy up to 5.7 million barrels of low-sulphur crude from West Africa, Malaysia, Vietnam or Brunei, priced in currencies such as the euro, Indonesian rupiah, Chinese yuan, Japanese yen or the Saudi Arabia’s riyal. (Reporting by Wilda Asmarini; Writing by Jessica Jaganathan; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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