Fri, 22 Dec 2000

BI may open on Dec. 29 if necessary: Official

JAKARTA (JP): Bank Indonesia said on Thursday that its office may open on Dec. 29 if it is necessary to help banks meet their cash demand during the year-end holidays.

"This is one of the steps taken by Bank Indonesia to anticipate a possible surge in cash demand during the holidays," the central bank public relations chief Halim Alamsyah said in a media statement.

Demand for cash is expected to surge as the country embraces the year-end festivities of Idul Fitri, Christmas and New Year.

Halim also said the central bank had provided a greater amount of cash to fill in banks' ATMs, and had conducted a "market operation" over the past week to provide small change bank notes to people.

Bank Indonesia will close its office starting Dec. 23, and will resume activity on Jan. 2, 2001. Friday will be last day of the central bank's clearing activities this year.

Halim said that on Dec. 29 and 30 Bank Indonesia would only accommodate tax payments.

He said the planned holidays were announced early this month through the mass media and Bank Indonesia websites.

He said that with the announcement, the banking community and the public had anticipated the holidays.

"Bank Indonesia appeals to the public not to be affected by groundless rumors in relation to the year-end holidays," Halim said.

Most domestic commercial banks will also be closed to the public during the holidays.

But several major banks, such as Bank Central Asia and Bank Mandiri, said they would reopen on Dec. 26 and Dec. 29 to handle tax payments.

Halim said Bank Indonesia would announce its exchange rate on Dec. 29.(rei)