Ringgit opens lower against greenback on geopolitical concerns


KUALA LUMPUR – The ringgit opened slightly lower against the US dollar today as the geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe have escalated, leading to risk aversion in the financial market, an analyst said. 

At 9 am, the local currency fell to 4.1890/1925 versus the greenback from Friday’s close of 4.1885/1910.

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the remarks made by the United States (US) government that Russia would invade Ukraine fairly soon have heightened worries.

“This happened as Russia’s military drills in Belarus started last week,” he told Bernama.

Nevertheless, he said the focus would also be on the US retail sales data for January, which would be released on Wednesday, along with the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes on Thursday.

“The retail sales are expected to grow 1.6 per cent based on consensus estimates after declining 1.9 per cent in December,” he noted. 

As such, Mohd Afzanizam expects the ringgit to remain steady within the RM4.18 range during the day as higher Brent crude price, which is currently at US$95 per barrel, could also provide support to the local note.

Meanwhile, the ringgit was traded mixed against a basket of other major currencies.

The local currency appreciated versus the euro to 4.7595/7635 from 4.7686/7715 at Friday’s close and strengthened against the Singapore dollar to 3.1113/1143 from 3.1148/1169.

However, it weakened vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.6297/6330 from 3.6089/6111 and shed against the British pound to 5.6811/6859 from 5.6783/6817, previously.