Rising risks of higher interest rates to continue influencing ringgit movement

KUALA LUMPUR – The ringgit is projected to hover at the current 4.42-4.45 range against the US dollar next week amid rising risks of a longer interest rate cycle after another hot inflation report.

SPI Asset Management managing director Stephen Innes said investors’ interests are likely to centre on the safe haven currency to hedge against the hawkish US Federal Reserve (Fed).

“The continued strength in the inflation data suggests the Fed’s work is still unfinished,” he said, adding that the recent US Producer Price Index (PPI) scorcher confirmed a “longer and higher interest rates path”.

“It was compounded by the Fed hawks starting to float the idea of a 50 basis points hike in March and the market warming up to that idea; US economic data and the Fed response to higher inflation signals will be worth watching going forward,’’ he told Bernama.

The US PPI – which measures what suppliers are charging businesses – rose by 0.7 per cent in January 2023, stronger than the expected 0.4 per cent.

An earlier report showed the US inflation stayed elevated, adding pressure for more Fed hikes.

The overall month-on-month consumer price index rose 0.5 per cent in January, although inflation continued to slow on a year-on-year basis to 6.4 per cent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This, in turn, spurred stronger US dollar demand in the global market.

During the week, the ringgit was mostly lower against the greenback.

It ended the week at 4.4310/4345 compared to 4.3320/3350 at Friday’s close previously.

The local note was also mostly lower against a basket of major currencies compared to a week earlier.

It depreciated against the British pound at 5.2919/2961 from 5.2404/2440, weakened versus the Singapore dollar to 3.3062/3093 from 3.2635/2663 and was lower vis-a-vis the euro at 4.7137/7174 from 4.6391/6424.

The local unit, however, rose against the Japanese yen to 3.2864/2892 from 3.3089/3114. – Bernama / pic TMR File