KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 8): The ringgit opened higher against the US dollar on Tuesday (Feb 8) on buying interest despite falling crude oil prices, said an analyst.
At 9am, the local currency was traded at 4.1820/1860 versus the greenback from Monday’s close at 4.1835/1850.
At press time, Brent crude oil stood at US$92.65 (about RM387.77) per barrel, a decrease of 0.04%
Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said although crude oil had been hovering above US$90 per barrel, it supports the ringgit at the moment.
“Higher crude oil prices would help improve the fiscal space for the Malaysian economy, which could then underpin growth.
“In that sense, the case for a stronger ringgit is quite visible,” he told Bernama.
Mohd Afzanizam said the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the key data that will be released this week, is expected to be sustained at more than 7% in January.
“So the rate hike in the US is almost a done a deal and the next question is the quantum of the hike.
“On one hand, there’s forces that would lead the appreciation of the ringgit, while on the other hand, there is a factor that will lift the US dollar,” he said.
He said therefore, the ringgit should stay around 4.18 against the greenback in the immediate term.
Investors will also weigh Malaysia’s final-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data on Friday, he said, adding that: “The numbers could come in positive after recording negative print in the prior quarter following the reopening of the economy in October.”
Meanwhile, the ringgit was traded mostly lower against a basket of other major currencies.
It slipped against the Singapore dollar to 3.1125/1157 from Monday’s close at 3.1102/1115, fell against the British pound to 5.6603/6658 from 5.6536/6556 and depreciated versus the euro to 4.7850/7896, compared with 4.7780/7797 previously.
The ringgit, however, appreciated against the Japanese yen to 3.6274/6312 from 3.6369/6385.-BERNAMA