Ringgit strengthens as markets brace for FOMC meeting

THE ringgit opened higher on Tuesday as market participants focused on the two-day United States (US) Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting which starts today.

At 9:05 am, the ringgit appreciated to 4.7255/7300 against the greenback compared to yesterday’s closing rate of 4.7310/7360.

SPI Asset Management managing director, Stephen Innes said this week’s FOMC meeting is highly significant for the short-term performance of the US dollar.

“Price movement can be limited, and the US interest rate market is showing a roughly equal chance of a 25 basis point rate cut happening in March.

“Furthermore, the increased geopolitical tensions in the Middle East added an extra layer of complexity to the market dynamics affecting the US dollar’s direction,” he told Bernama.

Nonetheless, Innes opined that the ringgit is likely to remain stable leading up to the FOMC meeting.

Meanwhile, the ringgit was traded mostly higher against a basket of major currencies, except for the Japanese yen where it inched down to 3.2055/2090 from 3.2020/2056 at Monday’s close.

The ringgit appreciated vis-a-vis the British pound to 6.0066/0123 from 6.0093/0157 yesterday and picked up against the euro to 5.1201/1250 from 5.1204/1258 previously.

At the same time, the local note was traded mixed against Asean currencies.

It improved against the Indonesian rupiah to 298.8/299.3 from 299.1/299.7 at yesterday’s close and rose against the Philippines’ peso to 8.39/8.41 from 8.40/8.42 previously.

However, the local unit depreciated against the Singapore dollar to 3.5281/5317 versus 3.5269/5309 on Monday and eased against the Thai baht to 13.3628/3812 from 13.2949/3153 previously. — BERNAMA