Bursa closes lower


BURSA Malaysia ended lower yesterday but managed to recover some lost ground from earlier losses, supported by mild bargain-hunting in consumer product counters, amid better sentiment on regional markets.

The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) slipped 4.2 points or 0.28% to end the day at 1,507.04 from Monday’s close of 1,511.24.

Total volume was higher at 8.75 billion shares worth RM2.98 billion from Monday’s 6.33 billion shares worth RM3.11 billion.

A dealer said the Asian markets were in a volatile mode yesterday after White House trade advisor Peter Navarro commented that the trade deal with China was “over”, thus reversing early morning gains and putting investors into cautious mode.

The statement, linking the breakdown in part to Washington’s anger over Beijing for not sounding the alarm earlier about the Covid-19 outbreak, prompted a sell-off across the equities markets.

However, the dealer said sentiment quickly recovered when Navarro claimed that his remarks had been taken out of context.

US President Donald Trump had also soothed the nerves when he tweeted: “China trade deal is fully intact. Hopefully they will continue to live up to the terms of the agreement.”

Better Sentiment Lifts Ringgit

The ringgit reversed Monday’s downtrend to close higher against the US dollar yesterday, thanks to better market sentiment following rising oil prices and Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz’s latest remarks on the country’s economy, dealers said.

Although the greenback showed stability following some assuring statements from the White House on the Washington-Beijing trade pact, the ringgit rose to 4.2710/2770 as at 6pm compared to 4.2770/2850 at Monday’s close.

Brent crude increased 2.1% to US$43.08 per barrel amid tighter supplies from major producer nations as Covid-19 lockdowns kept easing.

Meanwhile, Tengku Zafrul said Malaysia’s exposure to foreign currency fluctuations was extremely limited as 97% to 98% of the country’s debt comprised of domestic borrowings.

He said the debt level might hit the statutory limit of 55% of GDP at year-end from 52% currently following the implementation of measures to save lives, protect livelihoods and stimulate the economy.

Meanwhile, the ringgit decreased against the Singapore dollar to 3.0671/0723 from 3.0657/0717 recorded at Monday’s close and fell versus the British pound to 5.3165/3261 from 5.3035/3151.