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Friday, May 15, 1998 Published at 08:26 GMT 09:26 UK

Riots too hot for business
image: [ A riot policeman tries to quell the violence and mayhem in Jakarta ]
A riot policeman tries to quell the violence and mayhem in Jakarta

Indonesia's banks have shut down as the crisis in the country intensifies, bringing added urgency to the G8 summit.

BBC correspondent Patrick Bartlett reports on the turmoil for Indonesia's banks (2'26")
The currency market in Jakarta also closed on Friday, giving the plummeting rupiah currency some respite.

The rupiah stood at around 10,750 against the US dollar when trading was suspended.

[ image: Burnt-out vehicles litter the streets]
Burnt-out vehicles litter the streets
The stock market in Jakarta was open but there was little activity as nervous businessmen stayed at home after four days of violence, arson and looting in the city.

Most brokerage houses did not open for business and at midday the composite index was up 2.3 points at 406 points. Turnover was a tiny 4.9bn rupiah.

The riots were sparked last week after President Suharto introduced new austerity measures under a $43bn rescue plan imposed by the International Monetary Fund to end its economic crisis.

A central bank spokesman said banks were likely to re-open on Monday.

Meanwhile, foreign companies have begun withdrawing non-essential staff, and Jakarta airport is crowded with people trying to leave the country.

Japan will face G8 pressure

The growing crisis in Indonesia will be discussed by world leaders who are in Birmingham on Friday for the start of the G8 Summit.

[ image: Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto: under pressure]
Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto: under pressure
The Japanese Prime Minister, Ryutaro Hashimoto, will be under pressure to convince other Group of Eight (G8) leaders that Asia's economy will recover from its current crisis.

Japan has pledged the largest contribution - $5bn - to a $43bn international rescue package compiled by the IMF for Indonesia.

It is the country's biggest creditor with Japanese banks holding about 40% of Indonesia's foreign debt.

Mr Hashimoto is also expected to outline measures he has taken to kick-start his own economy.

G8 members, which include Britain, Canada, France, United States, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia will also consider imposing sanctions on India for carrying out nuclear tests, and will look at ways of tackling international crime.

It is the first time Britain has hosted such a summit outside London.

Mr Blair will also urge fellow leaders of the world's most advanced industrial nations to tackle Africa's debt burden.

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In this section

Australia and Indonesia join in military exercise

Indonesia death toll rises

Britons urged to leave Indonesia chaos

Suharto reshuffles the pack

G8 leaders call for change in Indonesia

US urges reform in Indonesia

Chinese flee Jakarta

Suharto - what next?

Chronology of people's revolt