Ringgit opens lower against US dollar

THE ringgit opened lower against the US dollar today as poor Chinese economic data weighed on emerging currencies, including the ringgit, analysts said.

At 9 am, the local currency weakened to 4.4650/4670 versus the greenback from Monday’s close of 4.4570/4595.

Oil prices also fell following the disappointing economic data from China.

The world’s largest crude oil importer and the world’s second-largest crude oil consumer reduced its key policy rates for the first time since January, slashing the one-year medium-term lending facility by 10 basis points to 2.75%.

This came as a surprise after the country’s retail and investment industrial numbers for July all missed economists’ estimates.

Meanwhile, benchmark Brent crude eased 1.13% to US$94.03 (RM420) per barrel at press time.

ActivTrades trader Dyogenes Rodrigues said the upcoming release of the US building permits data — an indicator of the health of the US real estate sector — could drive markets but all investors’ eyes will be on the release of the minutes of the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, due on Wednesday.

He said the document should offer clues on the monetary policy adopted by the US central bank in the next few months.

“Considering that the latest inflation readings came in below expectations, it is possible that the FOMC will take a softer tone on interest rates after the recent hikes. If that happens, the US dollar could fall against the ringgit in the short-to-medium term.

“From a technical point of view, the dollar-ringgit remains in resistance region, and a breakout below 4.4365 could make room for further declines,” he told Bernama.

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

It marginally fell against the Singapore dollar at 3.2395/2414 from 3.2379/2402 at Monday’s close and weakened vis-a-vis the Japanese yen at 3.3521/3539 from 3.3393/3415 previously.

However, the local unit slightly rose versus the British pound to 5.3754/3778 from 5.3796/3826 yesterday and appreciated against the euro at 4.5338/5358 from 4.5488/5514 at Monday’s close. — Bernama / TMRpic