S’poreans cross the Causeway to buy USD and British pound


JOHOR BARU: The volatility involving foreign currencies in recent weeks has caught the attention of not just local investors but also those from Singapore who come across the Causeway to purchase the US dollar and the British pound.

Some local money changers said that many were expecting the pound to continue to slide to RM4.80, from the currently traded levels of around RM4.95.

A money changer known as Mohamed said that while there were enquiries, people were still taking a “wait and see” approach before purchasing the pound.

“In recent weeks, many people, including Singaporeans, have been purchasing the greenback after it hit RM4.42 for each dollar.

“Now the rates have improved to RM4.61, and there is a trend of people selling dollars,” he said, adding that he expected more interest in the pound as it is expected to continue sliding over the coming days.

He added that many parents might want to purchase the notes as a future investment for their children who plan to study in the United Kingdom or even those planning to holiday there.

However, he cautioned that beginning Sept 1 this year, most money changers only accepted polymer British notes instead of paper ones.

Meanwhile, another money changer, known only as Tan, said that many Singaporeans are coming to Johor Baru to purchase certain currencies such as the greenback due to a possible shortage in the island republic.

“Even then, we just sell small amounts for people going on vacation or for our regular customers,” he said, agreeing that more people would want to purchase the pound if it continues to drop.

Asked if it was advisable to dabble in currency trading, he said that currencies were high-risk as they were volatile and were impacted by various internal and external factors.

Meanwhile, an official of the Malaysian Association of Money Services Business (MAMSB) for the southern region agreed that there has been an interest among people since the weakening of the pound.

“I also see that many are also taking advantage of the drop to purchase the notes as collectible items, especially with the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II,” she said, adding that most money changers did not keep much stock of the pound and greenback as part of risk mitigation.

She said at the moment, they would continue to service regular clients, but those who wanted to purchase large sums would need to wait for them to get the supply.

She also expects more people to purchase the pound if the currency continues to slide.

“More than 15 years ago, the pound was hovering above RM6. So, at RM4.95 now, some may choose to invest in it,” she said.

Asked if she was aware of whether locals or foreigners were the ones stocking up on the currencies, she said only those changing more than RM3,000 needed to show documents such as identity cards or passports.

“To me, those who want to purchase currencies can look at the Singapore dollar or the Chinese yuan as they are stable currencies,” she added.

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