KUALA LUMPUR – The ringgit traded higher against the US dollar at the opening today amid conflicting signals from the United States on inflation and interest rates, said an analyst.
At 9am, the local note rose to 4.4670/4745 against the US dollar from Wednesday’s close of 4.4710/4740.
The US ISM Manufacturing PMI, another indicator of inflation, rose only a tad higher to 47.7 points in February from 47.4 points in the preceding month but below the 48.0 points from consensus estimates.
Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd head of economics and market analysis Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said one of the voting members for the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), Neil Kashkari, indicated that he was open to a 25 basis points hike (bps) or 50 bps in the upcoming meeting in March.
Similarly, non-voting member Raphel Bostic suggested the Fed funds rate should be in the range of 5.00 per cent to 5.25 per cent, and that such a level needs to be held steady well into 2024.
“The hawkish tone by US Federal Reserve (Fed) officials continues to hog the limelight,” he told Bernama.
As such, Mohd Afzanizam foresees the ringgit to remain rangebound against the greenback ahead of the FOMC meeting in mid-March.
The ringgit traded higher against a basket of major currencies, except against the euro, where it fell to 4.7618/7698 from 4.7580/7612 yesterday.
The local unit improved against the Japanese yen to 3.2783/2843 from 3.2916/2941 and rose against the British pound to 5.3693/3783 from 5.3956/3992, previously.
The ringgit also traded higher against some Asean currencies.
It increased versus the Singapore dollar to 3.3256/3315 from 3.3333/3361 on Wednesday and expanded vis-a-vis Thai baht to 12.8381/8652 from 12.8484/8637.
The ringgit was slightly better against the Philippine peso at 8.12/8.14 from 8.13/8.14 and the Indonesian rupiah at 293.10/293.80 from 293.40/293.80 yesterday. – Bernama / pic Bloomberg