Ringgit breaches RM2.99 level per yen

KUALA LUMPUR — The ringgit breached the RM2.99 level against the Japanese yen last seen in June 2015 in early trade on Tuesday.

At 9am, the pair stood at 2.9984/3.0012. Subsequently, the ringgit traded at 3.001/0022 versus the yen at 10.42am.

Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid told Bernama that the sizeable interest rate differentials with Japan’s rate may have given an advantage to the ringgit.

He reckoned that Japan’s first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) 0.2 per cent contraction suggests that the scope of higher policy rates by policymakers looks limited and may further benefit the ringgit.

Meanwhile, UOB Kay Hian Wealth Advisors head of investment research Mohd Sedek Jantan said on Monday that Japanese policymakers said they would buy fewer government bonds, which could indicate a shift in approach.

“There’s speculation that they might raise interest rates by 0.1 per cent by the end of July based on swaps trading,” he said, hinging on the Bank of Japan’s confidence about reaching their 2.0 per cent inflation target.

The Japanese currency endured a prolonged fall, hurting domestic consumption amid higher import costs.

Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki early today said he was concerned about the negative implications of the current weakness in the yen.

Therefore, the government will monitor the currency market closely and take appropriate action as necessary. — BERNAMA / pic TMR FILE