Ringgit opens easier against US$

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit opened easier against the US dollar as the greenback remained steady despite a slight retracement on the back of subdued US yields and ahead of the release of the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes later today, said an economist.

At 9 am, the ringgit eased to 4.7995/8050 versus the US dollar compared with Tuesday’s close of 4.7975/8000.

Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the ringgit will continue to be traded in cautious mode ahead of the Malaysian consumer price index announcement on Friday.

"Yesterday, the local currency briefly touched 4.80 against the greenback which resulted in Bank Negara Malaysia’s response by issuing its remarks on the prevailing market condition.

"In the neighbouring country, Thai Prime Minister has called for its central bank to cut the benchmark interest rate to support the economy while China has surprised the market by cutting the five-year Loan Prime Rate more than expected, from 4.20 per cent to 3.95 per cent.

"As such, market sentiments are expected to be guarded in the near term as the players would be assessing the direction of emerging market currencies as the Federal Reserve is likely to delay its monetary easing. It seems the current market backdrop is favouring the US dollar in light of the wide interest rate differential,” he told Bernama.

The ringgit was traded lower at the opening today against a basket of major currencies.

The local currency slipped vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.1988/2029 from 3.1926/1945 at Tuesday’s close, decreased against the British pound to 6.0584/0654 from 6.0468/0499 yesterday, and fell versus the euro to 5.1878/1937 from 5.1799/1826 previously.

The ringgit was traded mostly lower against other Asean currencies.

It slid versus the Thai baht to 13.3109/3324 compared with 13.3016/3148 at Tuesday’s close and declined against the Singapore dollar to 3.5703/5746 from 3.5672/5693.

The local note also eased vis-a-vis the Indonesian rupiah to 306.4/306.9 from 306.3/306.6 and was flat against the Philippine peso at 8.56/8.58 from 8.56/8.57 on Tuesday. - Bernama

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