KUALA LUMPUR,. The ringgit improved marginally against the US dollar at the opening today as major central banks are being more cautious in their monetary tightening strategy in light of the concern in the banking sector, said an analyst.
At 9am, the local note rose slightly to 4.4950/4990 versus the greenback from yesterday’s closing rate of 4.5005/5055.
Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd’s chief economist and social finance Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the European Central Bank (ECB) delivered its monetary tightening decision with all key benchmark rates raised by 50 basis points and Deposit Facility now standing at 3.00 per cent.
“While the decision was pretty much guided by the ECB officials, future path looks unclear,” he told Bernama.
Meanwhile, he noted that data points in the United States (US) seemed to support the greenback with Housing Starts rebounding to 1.45 million in February compared to a consensus of 1.31 million, while the Initial Jobless Claims fell to 192,000 last week from consensus of 205,000.
“Hence, we believe the ringgit should stage some appreciation to around RM4.48 to RM4.49 today,” he said.
ActivTrades trader Dyogenes Rodrigues Diniz said the next major macro event likely to drive market movements would be the Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates in the US, scheduled on March 22.
“From a technical point of view, USD/MYR is trapped in a sideways channel. A break above 4.5300 may give room for further bullish action,” he said.
On the other hand, he added that a break below 4.4630 could open the door for USD/MYR to drop as low as 4.3650 within a few days.
Meanwhile, the local note was traded mostly higher against a basket of major currencies.
It appreciated against the Japanese yen to 3.3701/3736 from 3.3866/3909 at Thursday’s close and was higher vis-a-vis the euro to 4.7728/7770 from 4.7777/7830 but fell versus the British pound to 5.4443/4492 from 5.4330/4390 previously.
The ringgit traded mixed against its Asean counterparts.
The local note gained vis-a-vis the Indonesian rupiah to 292.00/292.50 from 292.30/292.90 on Thursday, firmed versus the Singapore dollar to 3.3380/3415 from 3.3399/3438, depreciated against the Thai baht to 13.0760/0937 from 13.0737/0947 yesterday and was unchanged vis-a-vis the Philippine peso at 8.20/8.22 compared to 8.20/8.21 previously. — Bernama