Ringgit seen remaining soft and trading around 4.76 versus US dollar next week

THE ringgit is expected to remain soft and trade around RM4.76 against the American dollar next week ahead of talks by US Federal Reserve (Fed) officials on inflation and the US retail sales data.

Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said a slew of Fed officials are scheduled for talks next week, which he thinks will offer the same messages – that US inflation is still a concern and that they need to be convinced whether it can reach the American central bank’s 2 per cent goal.

The US retail sales figure will be announced on Monday with consensus estimates projecting it will grow 0.3 per cent month-on-month in March from 0.6 per cent previously.

“Perhaps, the first quarter of 2024 (1Q2024) gross domestic product results for China could be a market-moving data point as investors would want to gauge whether the second largest global economy would be able to grow at around 5 per cent in 2024. Consensus estimates showed China’s economy grew 5.0 per cent year-on-year in 1Q2024,” he told Bernama.

Meanwhile, he said the European Union consumer price index would also be interesting to look at with street estimates showing that the inflation rate would moderate further to 2.4 per cent in March, a sign that the European Central Bank could be on the right track to cut interest rates this year.

On a Friday-to-Friday basis, the ringgit weakened to 4.7680/7730 versus the greenback compared with 4.7460/7490 a week earlier. The local note traded higher against most other major currencies.

It appreciated vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.1098/1133 from 3.1341/1363 a week earlier, rose against the British pound to 5.9562/9624 from 5.9956/9994 previously, and strengthened against the euro to 5.0808/0861 from 5.1437/1470.

The ringgit traded lower against Asean currencies except for the Singapore dollar.

It depreciated to 13.0831/13.1036 against the Thai baht from 12.9495/12.9641 on Friday last week, went down versus the Philippine peso to 8.43/8.44 from 8.39/8.41 and slipped against the Indonesian rupiah to 300.8/301.3 from 299.4/299.8 previously.

However, the local note improved vis-a-vis the Singapore dollar to 3.5090/5129 from 3.5208/5233 a week earlier. — BERNAMA