U.S. banks and other businesses in Jakarta are expected to close or remain only partially staffed today in the wake of Thursday's rioting in the Indonesian capital.
Banking sources said the decision to reduce activity came after a U.S. Embassy advisory notice suggesting that U.S. companies remain closed.
"We're watching anxiously along with the rest of the world how this plays out," said a spokesman for Chase Manhattan Corp., which plans to operate today with a reduced staff. Chase, which co-chairs the foreign bank committee handling debt negotiations with Indonesia, employs about 150 in its Jakarta branch.
BankAmerica Corp. officials could not be reached for comment on Bloomberg News reports that the San Francisco banking company had begun evacuating expatriate staff. The news service quoted John Ellis, a senior vice president at Bank of America in Hong Kong, as calling the rioting in Jakarta "pretty serious." The bank employs about 85 people in Jakarta.
In addition to BankAmerica and Chase, Citicorp, First Union Corp., Bankers Trust Corp., Bank of New York Co., and J.P. Morgan & Co. have offices in Jakarta.
Rioting has been spreading across Indonesia in the wake of a surge in food prices and the shooting deaths of six anti-government demonstrators Wednesday. Indonesia has experienced a severe financial crisis since a dramatic fall in the value of its currency and stock markets.
The country is seeking to renegotiate about $70 billion of loans by foreign banks to Indonesian companies that have run into difficulty servicing their debts.