GEORGE TOWN: A weaker ringgit has not stopped Malaysians from buying the greenback with the hope that it would go up even higher.
A check at several money changers along Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling here, famed for having a row of many such outlets, showed that the US dollar was enjoying high demand.
Money changer Riyaz Khan, who has been in the business for 30 years, said Penangites had been on a buying spree since June.
“Most of them buy around US$1,000.
“They probably believe the US dollar will go up, some even speculate much higher,” he said yesterday.
From his conversations with customers, Riyaz found that some had bought US currency because they were going to travel soon, so they were stocking up before the rate went any higher.
“It makes sense for them to buy now as it seems to be on an upward trend.
“There were also many who were buying currencies tied to the US dollar, like the riyal (Saudi Arabia),” he added.
Riyaz said in April, when borders reopened, the US dollar stood at RM4.10 to RM4.20. Yesterday, he was selling it at RM4.58.
Money changer Seeni Abdul Kadir said some customers were selling off their Singapore and Australian dollars to get US dollars.
“Singapore and Australian dollars are falling too. It’s how the market is. Some people buy as much as US$30,000 to keep, since it’s not worth keeping the ringgit for now,” he said.
On the retail side, a check on a few shops showed that the rising US dollar has not caused price hikes for goods.
At a store that exclusively sells US computers and smartphones, a sales assistant who wished to be known only as Khadijah said none of the computers and gadgets has increased in price lately.
“As most of the products were launched before the hike, there has been no increase in prices.
“Only the iPhone 14 that was launched on Sept 8 has gone up in price by around RM300.
“The phone originally was to be priced at RM3,899 but now it is priced at RM4,199,” she said.
But Khadijah said the price increase had not slowed down sales of the iPhone 14.
“Today is the collection date for pre-orders, and we sold 40 phones.
“People are still buying the latest phone model regardless of the increase in price,” she said.
At a one-stop shop for all things electrical, a sales representative who declined to be named also said there was no increase in the price of computers, laptops or other devices from the United States.
“It is probably because there are no newly launched products. If there are, I am sure there will be a difference based on the present currency exchange rate,” she said.