Ringgit retreats to open lower vs greenback

THE ringgit retreated from previous days’ gains to open lower against the US dollar today as the greenback strengthened following the United States (US) Federal Reserve’s (Fed) hawkish Semiannual Monetary Report to the US Congress, an analyst said. 

At 9 am, the local note fell to 4.5065/5140 versus the greenback from Tuesday’s closing of  4.4710/4730.   

Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd head of economics, market analysis and social finance, Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the US Fed chief Jerome Powell remained hawkish in his testimony to the US Congress last night, leaving the higher-for-longer narrative to become more entrenched.

“The Fed is prepared to raise the Fed Fund Rate perhaps higher than what the market is expecting if the data points continue to show further resilience in the US economy.

“This would make Friday’s US Nonfarm Payroll to be the most highly anticipated numbers as markets will form their view on whether the Fed is going to opt for a 25 or 50 basis points increase during the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on March 21-22,” he told Bernama.

Mohd Afzanizam also noted that the US Dollar Index (DXY) had gone up by 1.21 per cent to 105.61 points.

“As such, the ringgit is likely to be on the weaker side today, with the current resistant level at around RM4.5293 against the US dollar, and it will move in this direction in the near term,” he added.

Meanwhile, the ringgit was traded mostly higher against a basket of major currencies. 

The local unit firmed against the British pound to 5.3321/3410 from 5.3715/3739 at Tuesday’s close and appreciated vis-a-vis the euro to 4.7539/7618 from 4.7647/7669, but slipped versus the Japanese yen to 3.3283/3341 from 3.2909/2926 previously.

At the same time, the local note was traded mostly lower against some Asean currencies.

It fell versus the Singapore dollar to 3.3283/3341 from 3.3210/3229 yesterday and declined against the Philippine peso to 8.15/8.17 from 8.12/8.13.

The ringgit also decreased against the Indonesian rupiah to 293.2/293.8 from 290.90/291.1 at the previous close but advanced vis-a-vis the Thai baht to 12.8354/8615 from 12.9332/9453 yesterday. — Bernama / pic TMR