Ringgit opens slightly lower against US dollar

THE ringgit retreated from yesterday’s gains to open slightly lower against the US dollar today despite a weaker greenback, dragged down by the declining oil price.

At 9.07 am, the ringgit depreciated to 4.3210/3250 against the greenback from Wednesday’s close of 4.3130/3185.

SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes said the fundamental backdrop for the ringgit has improved, thanks considerably to an earlier and faster-than-expected reopening in China, paving the way for better growth in Malaysia.

However, he said risk-off has gripped global markets after a deeper-than-expected fall in US data which sent hints of a recessionary period.

“I think the sell-off will be light as the weaker US growth data (industrial production and retail sales) on the back of softer inflation metrics confirms the Federal Reserve will downshift to 25 basis points.

“But with Chinese Lunar New Year on the horizon, I think the local market may turn quiet and remain in profit-taking mode,” he told Bernama.

The ringgit was firmer against a basket of major currencies, except against the Japanese yen.

The local unit rose to 5.3274/3323 against the British pound from 5.3300/3368 at yesterday’s close, rose against the Singapore dollar to 3.2698/2733 from 3.2793/2840, and appreciated versus the euro to 4.6632/6675 from 4.6878/6938 previously.

However, it fell vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.3658/3694 from 3.3331/3376 at Wednesday’s close.