Ringgit opens easier against US dollar

by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE

KUALA LUMPUR – The ringgit opened lower against the US dollar on Monday ahead of Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) Monetary Policy Committee’s (MPC) meeting on Jan 20, an analyst said.

At 9.02 am, the local currency was trading at 4.1850/1880 against the US dollar compared with 4.1765/1795 at Friday’s close.

Speaking to Bernama, Bank Islam Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said as there is a lot of talks of an earlier rate hike in the US, the attention would be on the latest BNM’s MPC assessment on the prevailing economic condition, particularly the rising inflation rate and what it means in terms of overnight policy rate (OPR).

Meanwhile, Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd said a potential slowdown in China’s fourth quarter of 2021 gross domestic product (GDP) may help the US dollar regain some of its losses and put pressure on the local note.

“However, rising Brent crude oil price and US weak retail sales data are expected to hold the US dollar index below the 96.0 mark,” it said in a note.

In addition, on the domestic front, the research house said if the BNM delivers an upbeat economic assessment, the ringgit may strengthen and trade around the 4.17 level.

At the opening bell, the local note was traded higher against a basket of other major currencies.

The ringgit rose versus the Singapore dollar to 3.1032/1057 from Friday’s close of 3.1045/1070  and appreciated against the Japanese yen to 3.6598/6628 from 3.6675/6704.

It strengthened against the British pound to 5.7201/7242 from 5.7339/7380 and increased vis-a-vis the euro to 4.7734/7768 from 4.7846/7880.