Indonesia strengthens financial crisis protocol amid coronavirus

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A view of almost empty main road amid the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Jakarta

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia has improved its protocol to prevent a financial crisis amid the coronavirus outbreak, its finance minister said on Wednesday as she flagged a worst case scenario of contraction in 2020 GDP growth and the rupiah falling to a historic low.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the protocol to help failing banks has been upgraded to allow for early responses by all financial authorities as part of an emergency regulation that President Joko Widodo announced on Tuesday.

Southeast Asia's largest economy is expected to grow 2.3% in 2020, but the government has prepared for a worse scenario of a contraction of 0.4%, Indrawati said. Her scenarios also include the rupiah falling further to average between 17,500 to 20,000 to the dollar, the weakest on record, compared to the 16,380 exchange rate at 0320 GMT on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Gayatri Suroyo, Tabita Diela, Maikel Jefriando and Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)