The rupiah’s sharp fall against the US dollar should be used as an opportunity for local industry to boost its exports, which have been on a downward trend lately due to the global economic slowdown, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said.

Jokowi said Wednesday that the country’s export-oriented companies should be given incentives to take advantage of the opportunity that comes with the downturn.

“With this kind of opportunity, the industry should be encouraged […] so that export-oriented industries move faster and can take advantage of the weakening rupiah,” the President said in his address at the opening of a limited Cabinet meeting that discussed the government’s efforts to cope with the fall of the rupiah and several other economic issues such as the government’s strategy to achieve the economic growth target.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla echoed Jokowi’s sentiments, saying that the weak rupiah would provide an advantage for export activities in the country, allowing it to better compete in the world market.

“It will bring economic stability because the deficit in the trade and current account will decrease. There will also be positive impact from the fuel subsidy cuts,” Kalla told reporters following the meeting. “The result, the economic stability, will be seen early next year.”

Kalla predicted that the rupiah exchange rate would reach a stable level of Rp 12,500 per dollar early next year, when the reduced fuel subsidy policy would also start to show gains as such funds would be transferred from consumptive to productive areas two months after being introduced.

The rupiah gained 0.2 percent to 12,658 per US dollar on Wednesday after hovering near the 12,900 level a day earlier, local exchange rates published by Bloomberg show. The Indonesian currency fell 1.9 percent Monday, the weakest level since August 1998. —The Jakarta Post