Ringgit opens on softer note against US dollar

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit opened on a softer note against the US dollar on Monday as the greenback strengthened in light of the latest United States (US) nonfarm payrolls (NFP) data which surpassed expectations.

At 9 am, the ringgit eased to 4.6750/6800 against the greenback from last Friday’s close of 4.6625/6665.

According to reports, the US NFP numbers came in at 199,000 in November versus consensus estimates of 180,000.

However, Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist and social finance head Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said upon further scrutiny, the sharp rise in the US NFP was mainly due to workers returning from their strike.

"In that sense, the labour market is softening, which could result in the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) members changing their tone when they reconvene on Dec 12-13.

"As for now, expect ringgit versus the US dollar to remain guarded,” he told Bernama.

Meanwhile, the ringgit was traded mostly lower versus a basket of major currencies.

It depreciated against the British pound to 5.8685/8748 from 5.8542/8593 at Friday’s close and weakened vis-a-vis the euro to 5.0359/0413 from 5.0243/0286 last week.

However, the ringgit strengthened against the Japanese yen to 3.2164/2200 from 3.2307/2337 previously.

At the same time, the ringgit traded mixed against other Asian currencies.

It stood unchanged versus the Philippines’ peso at 8.41/8.43 from Friday’s close, but increased against the Thai baht to 13.1283/1494 from 13.1933/2094.

The local note inched down versus the Singapore dollar to 3.4844/4884 from 3.4818/4853 last week, and went down against the Indonesian rupiah to 301.2/301.7 from 300.4/300.8 previously. - Bernama

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