The ringgit weakened to 3.8140 against the US dollar – the weakest in 17 years -- from 3.8098 at the previous close as a global slump in commodity prices added to concerns over sluggish exports.
At 12.30pm, the KLCI was down 2.54 points or 0.15% to 1,718.22. Turnover was 1.29 billion shares valued at RM775.32mil. There were 285 gainers, 441 decliners and 273 counters unchanged.
China stocks fell sharply on Monday morning as a government-triggered rebound petered out, with attention shifting back to weak fundamentals and lacklustre economic data, Reuters reported.
Hong Kong stocks also slumped, as Asian markets were generally softer after losses on Wall Street and worries over China, while investors also braced for a looming increase in U.S. interest rates.
Hong Leong Investment Research said given the lack of fresh catalysts and an extended selldown on the DJIA last Friday, the KLCI was expected to engage in a prolonged sideways consolidation within 1,700-1,738 band this week with the limelight fixated on the prolonged domestic issues.
At Bursa Malaysia, construction-based Ikhmas Jaya Group was the most active when it made its debut on the Main Market, adding 20.5 sen to 77.5 sen.
AirAsia rose three sen to RM1.43 as sentiment improved in the low-cost carrier. AirAsia CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said on Monday the company will recapitalise its Indonesian affiliate so that the unit can meet a rule set by the country's transport ministry.
Among the banks, CIMB fell 12 sen to RM5.38, HL Bank 14 sen to RM13.52 and RHB Cap eight sen to RM7.31.
Crude palm oil for third-month delivery fell RM20 to RM2,158. Among the plantations, KL Kepong fell 12 sen to RM22.40 and PPB Group 30 sen to RM15.08.
Tenaga rose two sen to RM12.30.
US light crude oil fell 29 cents to US$47.85 and Brent fell 15 cents to US$54.47. PetDag fell eight sen to RM20.50 but PetChem rose six sen to RM6.39.
Among the key regional markets,
Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.04% to 20,330.11;
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 2.81% to 24,422.19;
Shanghai’s Composite Index fell 2.44% to 3,971.54;
Taiwan’s Taiex fell 2.17% to 8,577.43;
South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.16% to 2,042.77;
Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.84% to 3,324.42;
Spot gold fell US$1.50 to US$1,097.61.