Ringgit opens weaker versus greenback on robust US labour data 

THE ringgit opened lower against the US dollar this morning, weighed down by robust US labour market data, said an analyst. 

At 9 am, the ringgit fell to 4.7820/7870 against the greenback compared to yesterday’s close of 4.7705/7745. 

The US initial jobless claims came in lower-than-expected at 218,000 last week versus consensus estimates of 221,000, suggesting robust labour markets as fewer Americans claim their jobless benefits.

Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the US benchmark S&P 500 index crossed the 5,000 points briefly. 

“This is a sign that investors are upbeat about US companies’ earnings this year. 

“All in all, the US dollar is in the sweet spot as the Federal Reserve is unlikely to reverse course anytime soon, giving more edge to the US dollar,” he told Bernama. 

Therefore, the ringgit versus the US dollar is likely to remain soft today, he added. 

The ringgit was traded lower against a basket of major currencies but improved vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.2010/2046 from 3.2068/2100 at Thursday’s close. 

It depreciated against the British pound to 6.0320/0383 from 6.0251/0302 previously and slipped versus the euro to 5.1516/1570 from 5.1445/1488.

The local note was traded mostly lower versus other Asean currencies but was better versus the Thai baht at 13.3103/3317 from 13.3191/3362.

The ringgit was marginally lower against the Singapore dollar at 3.5477/5517 versus 3.5471/5506 on Thursday. It was also lower against the Indonesian rupiah at 305.8/306 compared to 305.0/305.5 and slipped versus the Philippine peso to 8.55/8.56 from 8.53/8.54 previously. — BERNAMA / pic TMR FILE