Ringgit opens firmer against US dollar

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Kuala Lumpur
– The ringgit opened firmer against the US dollar today on better-than-expected export data despite escalating geopolitical tension on the Korean Peninsular.

At 9 am, the local unit was quoted at 4.2200/2230 versus the greenback from yesterday’s 4.2370/2400.

A dealer said Malaysia’s export grew 30.9% in July from a year earlier on higher shipments of manufactured products and mining goods.

This caught market players by surprise as investors expected growth to be around 20%.

Meanwhile, he said escalating tension on the Korean peninsula prompted investors to shun riskier assets.

“Many investors responded by shifting some of their portfolios into assets which are believed to be safer,” he said.

On the local front, Malaysia’s international reserves climbed to US$100.5 billion (RM431.7 billion) as at Aug 30, 2017, compared with US$100.4 billion (RM431.0 billion) registered as at Aug 15, 2017.

“The reserves position is sufficient to finance 7.8 months of retained imports and is 1.1 times the short-term external debt,” the central bank said in a statement yesterday.

Bank Negara Malaysia is also expected to announce a decision on the overnight policy rate today.

The local note was traded higher against a basket of other major currencies.

It advanced against the Singapore dollar to 3.1271/1300 from Wednesday’s close of 3.1336/1368 and appreciated against the yen to 3.8648/8679 from 3.8950/8989 yesterday.

The local unit firmed against the British pound to 5.5050/5093 from yesterday’s 5.5204/5247 and strengthened against the euro to 5.0298/0351 from 5.0560/0613 on Wednesday. – AFP