Ringgit closes marginally higher against US dollar

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit traded marginally higher at the close on Thursday against the US dollar ahead of first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data in the United States later tonight.

At 6 pm, the ringgit climbed to 4.7745/7775 against the greenback from Wednesday’s close of 4.7765/7780.

Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid observed that while the ringgit was up, the Indonesian rupiah and the Japanese yen weakened versus the US dollar. He noted that the Indonesian rupiah fell despite yesterday's surprise interest rate increase.

The Bank of Indonesia (BI) raised their policy rate by 25 basis points to 6.25 per cent to strengthen its currency and as a pre-emptive measure to contain inflation. The Japanese yen continued its fall, easing 0.21 per cent to 155.68 yen against the US dollar.

Reports said investors have been selling the Japanese yen for the US dollar amid the wide interest rate differential between Japan and the United States.

"Markets will be observing the incoming data on the US economy, especially the first quarter GDP tonight and the personal consumption expenditure (PCE) figure (tomorrow night) before next week’s US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on April 30 and May 1. It seems the robust US economy (so far) has provided strong support to the US dollar," Mohd Afzanizam told Bernama.

SPI Asset Management managing director Stephen Innes commented that the recent surge in US durable goods orders has provided a boost to the greenback and that the weakening yen might weigh on the ringgit. "The Japanese yen continued to weaken without intervention, potentially influencing downward pressure on the ringgit," he said.

Innes said Malaysia's stable inflation rate presented a "nuanced scenario” for local markets.

"Encouraging signs of global growth, particularly evident in European business confidence surveys, could offer a promising outlook for the ringgit's trajectory," he added.

The ringgit was mostly lower against a basket of major currencies.

It rose vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.0677/0698 from 3.0830/0840 at Wednesday’s close but eased versus the British pound to 5.9748/9786 from 5.9362/9381 and fell against the euro to 5.1211/1243 from 5.1046/1062 previously.

The ringgit traded mostly higher against Asean currencies.

The local currency appreciated versus the Thai baht to 12.8939/9087 against 12.9004/9097 from yesterday’s close and was better versus the Philippine peso at 8.26/8.27 from 8.30/8.31 on Wednesday.

It rose vis-a-vis the Indonesian rupiah to 294.9/295.2 from 295.6/295.9 on Wednesday but slid against the Singapore dollar to 3.5120/5144 from 3.5090/5104 previously. - Bernama

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