Brent crude was 1.49% higher to US$55.71 per barrel at 3.34pm.
The ringgit was 0.02% higher to 4.4355 versus the US dollar at 3.42pm.
Top foreign stories
Asian currencies set to slip over next year on tighter Fed policy: Emerging Asian currencies are expected to lose ground in the year ahead as monetary tightening from the Federal Reserve gathers pace, but uncertainty on future US trade policy will cap dollar gains, a Reuters poll found. The latest poll showed dollar bulls will take charge again soon, with Asian currencies seen ending this month lower and slumping further in the next 12 months, largely underpinned by expectations for a slightly faster pace of US rate hikes. — Reuters
Sterling’s fate hangs on tone of Brexit negotiations: How Britain’s divorce negotiations with the European Union progress will decide whether sterling sinks possibly as low as US$1.10 or bounces as high as US$1.50 in the coming year, a poll of foreign exchange strategists found. — Reuters
Singapore central bank seen on hold as economy emerges from doldrums: Singapore’s central bank is widely expected to keep policy steady next week, with the economy seen on track to meet the official full-year forecast despite an expected contraction in the first quarter. Eighteen of 19 analysts in a Reuters survey predicted that the Monetary Authority of Singapore would keep its exchange-rate based policy unchanged at its semiannual review due on April 13. — Reuters
Hyundai, Kia plan major car recall in US and S. Korea over engine issue: Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp are expected to recall more than a million vehicles in South Korea and the United States due to engine issues, the latest blow for two firms already struggling in key markets. The recall, which could cost the two firms hundreds of millions of dollars each, comes as Hyundai and Kia face a sharp drop in China sales and sluggish demand in the United States and South Korea. — Reuters
Top local stories
UK court orders Khoo Kay Peng to pay US$80m to ex-wife: The 78-year-old boss of Laura Ashley has been ordered to pay his ex-wife £64million (US$80 million) to settle their long-running divorce row. Pauline Chai, who was crowned Miss Malaysia in 1969, was seeking £100million from Tan Sri Khoo Kay Peng following their split after 42 years of marriage. — Guardian/SCMP
Stock on the move: Pestech: Shares in Pestech International Bhd climbed on Friday on news the company had bagged a US$100.2mil (RM444mil) contract from Alex Corp for the construction of electricity transmission lines from a hydro-power plant in Cambodia. — StarBiz
Malaysia palm planters face labour shortage as Indonesia workers stay away: Malaysian palm oil planters say they are bracing for a severe labour shortage, with workers who typically stream over the border from neighbouring Indonesia to harvest crops staying away due to the weaker ringgit and increased opportunities at home. A dearth of workers in the world’s No.2 producer could delay harvests and curb output as extraction rates fall when palm fruit is picked late, hurting the country’s top commodity export industry. — Reuters
Bank Negara records higher foreign reserves at March 31: Bank Negara said its international reserves increased by US$500mil to US$95.4bil as at March 31, 2017 from from US$94.9bil on March 15. — StarBiz
MTDC plans to set up new private fund by year-end: Malaysian Technology Development Corp (MTDC) plans to set up a new private fund by the year-end to help recipients expand their business further. Chief executive officer Datuk Norhalim Yunus said the fund, with a target of RM500 million, would complement the existing government funds. — Bernama
EPF provides free financial literacy guidance to members: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is giving free financial literacy guidance to its members that will inculcate better financial and retirement planning, chief executive officer Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said, adding the service will be available at all its branches. — Bernama
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