Ringgit opens easier vs US dollar

THE ringgit opened easier against the US dollar on Monday amidst dovish market sentiments, which could affect the regional central banks’ stance on monetary policies, said an analyst.

At 9.17 am, the local note declined to 4.4090/4220 versus the greenback from Friday’s closing rate of 4.4000/4025.

Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist and social finance Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the ringgit should stay steady at around RM4.40 today, with an upside bias.

“The release of China’s first quarter of 2023 (1Q 2023) gross domestic product (GDP) data on Tuesday may boost sentiments, as, according to consensus estimates, its economic activities are likely to accelerate to 4.0 per cent in the first quarter.

“Support from China’s economy following the relaxation of COVID-19 measures since late last year would help underpin the Asian region’s tourism-related industries,” he said to Bernama.

However, Mohd Afzanizam noted that Singapore’s GDP growth declined -0.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter in 1Q 2023 from 0.1 per cent expansion previously.

“This suggests that the uncertainties over the global outlook have taken a toll on the Asian economy.

“Nonetheless, regional central banks may not simply change their stand as the balance of risks to growth is fairly steady at the moment. That could help Asian economies and in turn, would be positive for the emerging market currencies, including the ringgit,” he said. 

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

It appreciated against the Japanese yen to 3.2970/2995 from 3.3208/3229 at the close last Friday, advanced to 4.8445/8478 from 4.8660/8687 vis-a-vis the euro, and improved against the British pound to 5.4725/4762 from 5.5031/5062 previously. 

At the same time, the local note was traded mostly higher against Asean currencies, with the exception of the Indonesian rupiah where it fell to 300.4/300.8 from 299.1/299.5 last Friday. 

It went up versus the Thai baht to 12.8497/8640 from 12.9070/9208 at the close on Friday, inched up against the Singapore dollar to 3.3146/3171 from 3.3183/3204 and rose against the Philippines’ peso at 7.96/7.97 from 7.97/7.98 previously. — Bernama / pic TMR