Located in Southeast Asia, the Republic of Indonesia is the biggest and most populous island country on the planet, with a population of 264.2 million people in 2018 and more than 17,000 islands. Out of these, Java is the most densely populated island.
The country has one of the quickest-growing economies in this region as well as developed private and government sectors. Its GDP in 2018 stood at US$1,022.45 billion but this figure is projected to increase to US$1,596.01 billion by 2024.
Indonesia also has a vast reserve of natural resources, which helps drive its economy forward. Its biggest exports include commodities like natural gas, oil, rubber, copper, plywood, tin, and gold. Electronic equipment, fuels, and chemicals are among Indonesia’s chief imports.
Considering the rapid economic growth it has witnessed as of late, it is not surprising Indonesia has become an attractive destination for foreign exchange companies from around the world. The country’s demographic composition further increases this appeal.
With a median age of a little over 28 years according to 2016 estimates, there is a large group of young, capable, and eager citizens that are looking for additional opportunities to profit and gain financial independence. This creates the perfect environment for a thriving Forex market.
The local foreign exchange market lacked adequate regulations during the period that spanned the early 2000s to 2012. As a result, this decade was very profitable for both brokerages and investors from the country.
Things changed in 2013 when the central financial institution, the Bank of Indonesia, came down hard on several Forex brokers for allegedly mistreating local customers. Indonesian investors lost millions because of dishonest brokerage practices during this period.
Indonesian authorities had to tighten the regulatory regime in an attempt to salvage the local Forex market and minimize the instances of traders being swindled out of their money by fraudsters.
Indonesia Forex Legislation
Forex trading is legal in the island country, which boasts a rapidly expanding market despite the tougher stance local authorities have adopted in recent years. Many industry experts opine Indonesia could soon become one of the world’s leading Forex markets.
The choice of Indonesia-friendly brokerages was initially rather limited but the local authorities decided to open the country’s doors to foreign competition. The Indonesia Forex market is well-regulated. All brokers are expected to adhere to a set of strict rules, established by the local financial watchdogs.
These tougher regulations aimed at eradicating the risks of financial fraud and ensuring a safer trading environment for local investors. The website TRUST+ was specifically launched to raise awareness and assist Indonesian residents in detecting potential dishonest practices.
Offshore foreign exchange companies licensed in top-tier jurisdictions are allowed to operate in the country although Indonesian authorities recommend trading with locally authorized companies. Nevertheless, Indonesian traders currently have a much broader choice of Forex brokers.
With that said, both foreign and locally licensed brokers are still expected to comply with Indonesia’s financial laws. Since more than 87% of the country’s population profess the Muslim faith, brokers must service local traders in accordance with what is known as the Sharia law.
One of the key rules in Islamic finance is the prohibition of usury, i.e. people who lend or borrow money are not allowed to charge or pay interest (riba). In the Muslim faith, interest is believed to always favor the lender at the expense of the borrower. Money is not considered an asset in itself. Therefore, Muslims cannot generate income from money alone as is the case with interest.
Instead, the Islamic financial system operates on the principles of risk-sharing. Instead of lending money to a customer at a specific interest rate, Islamic banks purchase the underlying product themselves, be it an apartment, a house, a car or an electronic appliance.
Then the bank would lease or resell the product to the customer at a flat price, which usually exceeds its original value to reward itself for the risk it took with the respective client. The Islamic banks generate additional profits when their customers successfully repay them for the purchased realty or movable property.
In line with these peculiarities, brokers that service the Indonesian market must offer local customers the option to open the so-called Islamic or swap-free accounts. Respectively, the Sharia law strictly disallows several commonplace aspects of standard foreign exchange trading.
Neither the brokerage nor its Indonesian customers can earn or pay interest. The customer should not be granted the chance to trade with excessive risk. This is against the Sharia business practices. Speculation and gambling are also disallowed.
One aspect which the Indonesian financial regulators fall flat in is assisting local traders who have been defrauded by unreliable brokerages. It appears there are no avenues for such customers to reclaim their lost money. Nevertheless, fraudulent trading companies are subject to investigations, prosecutions, and bans.
Indonesia Financial Regulators
The main regulator in this jurisdiction is the Financial Services Authority of Indonesia, locally referred to as Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK). This entity was founded in 2011 after the enactment of the Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 21. The local financial markets lacked sufficient regulation prior to the introduction of the OJK.
The new authority was intended as a replacement for Bapepam-LK in overseeing and regulating Indonesia’s financial institutions and capital markets. It also replaced the country’s central bank, the Bank of Indonesia, in overseeing the local commercial, rural, and Sharia banks. The OJK is additionally tasked with the protection of financial services consumers.
It also oversees non-bank products such as insurance and investment schemes along with pension funds. The OJK ensures that all financial companies that operate within the country are fully compliant with the Sharia standards.
The regulatory body is also known to actively try and limit the residents’ access to certain financial instruments, such as the infamous binary options. The websites of offshore brokers that offer such products are often blocked by the Indonesian authorities.
The Indonesian Commodities and Futures Trading Regulatory Authority (locally abbreviated as BAPPEBTI) was founded in 2005 but expanded its powers nearly a decade later in 2013. It is tasked with the oversight of the derivative sector in the country.
Another goal of this authority is to safeguard Indonesian nationals from fraudulent activities and provide financial education to prospective customers. Brokers applying for local licenses are subject to rigorous audits during the registration process.
They are periodically inspected to make sure they operate in compliance with Indonesia’s regulatory guidelines. Another condition set by BAPPEBTI is for locally licensed brokerages to ensure straightforward complaint procedures.
Indonesia Forex Payment Methods
Indonesian traders are recommended to choose only regulated Forex brokers, especially if they are planning to open live accounts and trade for real money. Before you register with a Forex trading company, you must check its banking section to see what deposit and withdrawal options you have a choice from.
Joining a regulated broker also safeguards you against scams. A reputable company adheres to the highest standards of safety, encrypts all financial information transferred to and from its website, and segregates the money of its customers from its operational capital.
All reputable trading firms to service this market cater to Indonesian customers with swap-free accounts where no interest is paid for overnight positions in compliance with the Sharia law. The exact limits and available deposit solutions are broker-specific but generally the list includes Visa and Mastercard, and less frequently, China UnionPay. Bank Sinarmas is one of the largest Indonesian financial institutions where locals can apply for UnionPay debit cards.
Bank transfers are also commonly supported but usually require between two and five business days. Many prefer to initiate the payment online, through the e-banking platforms of their banks.
An increasing number of Indonesian traders prefer to conduct their payments through the platforms of online payment services providers like Perfect Money. This is a digital wallet you can use to carry out secure and time-efficient online money transfers. Another benefit results from the fact the service is available in the Indonesian language.
Some Indonesia-friendly brokers offer the locally available method FasaPay that operates in Indonesia and Malaysia. It ensures quick and highly secure transactions, with payments possible in two main currencies, the USD and the local IDR.
To use FasaPay, you need to sign up and fund your new account’s balance. You can use bank transfers, SMS banking or ATM transfers. Established brokerages that accept customers from Indonesia usually do not charge additionally on deposits.
Popular Trading Software in Indonesia
To enjoy a seamless experience, Indonesian customers must choose a broker that implements a reliable and user-friendly trading platform. The vast majority of brokers to service customers from this location utilize the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) software, courtesy of the Cyprus-based company MetaQuotes.
MT4 appeals to novice traders with its user-friendly design. Many versed investors also favor the platform because it has all the necessary features to allow for a more advanced trading experience. The software provides them with advanced customizable charts and tons of technical indicators they can analyze market trends with. There are different types of charts including lines, bars, and candlesticks.
Some Indonesia-friendly brokerages have adopted the newer MetaTrader 5 (MT5) platform. It is different in that it offers a greater choice of financial instruments in addition to Forex, including options, futures, bonds, and stocks. This version has a similar interface to its predecessor.
You will experience no issues in finding your way around if you are already familiar with MT4. MetaTrader 5 offers twelve additional timeframes as well as more graphical objects and technical indicators.
The Depth of Market (DoM) tool enables traders to see how much liquidity is available in a given market at a specific price. Both platforms are multi-lingual and support the Indonesian language. MT4 and MT5 are available for free download. Traders also have the option to use MetaQuotes’ browser-based WebTrader. It provides a similar trading experience without the need for additional software installation.
Some brokers that service the Indonesian market run on proprietary platforms so there may be major discrepancies feature-wise. The surest way to determine whether a trading software is suitable for you or not is to test it. You can open a demo account and use it for practice to get a good feel of how stuff works and whether the respective proprietary platform meets your criteria or not.
Mobile Trading in Indonesia
This island country boasts one of the biggest and most dynamic mobile markets in the whole of Asia. The number of smartphone users is projected to increase to 90 million by 2020. Indonesians are notorious for their extensive usage of portable devices, with many smartphone owners having several cards for personal and business use.
Indonesian traders no longer need to be chained to their desktop computers to observe the latest market trends and track their open positions. All reputable Indonesia-friendly brokers offer mobile-compatible versions of their websites, ensuring a high-end trading experience on the go.
If your broker of choice uses the MetaQuotes software, you can download the dedicated MT4 or MT5 apps from Google Play or the App Store. You can register on the go or access your account with your existing sign-in credentials if you are a returning customer. The experience on a smartphone closely replicates that on desktop computers.
The apps provide you with instant access to real-time quotes for various financial instruments, including Forex. You can analyze the markets in-depth with the help of the customizable charts and technical indicators.
Testing new strategies on demo trades as you go is a great way to expand your trading knowledge and experience. Additionally, mobile traders from Indonesia have access to their complete trading histories and various educational tools. The majority of reputable Indonesia-friendly brokers offer mobile apps available in the local language to cater to non-English-speaking customers.