KUALA LUMPUR,. The ringgit opened lower versus the US dollar this morning as the greenback strengthened ahead of the release of the United States (US) nonfarm payrolls (NFP) data later today, analysts said.

At 9am, the local note eased to 4.5200/5245 versus the greenback compared with Thursday’s closing rate of 4.5170/5200.

Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd’s head of economics, market analysis and social finance, Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said market players are tip-toeing around the NFP, which is expected to come down to 205,000 in February after surging to 517,000 in January.

The NFP could be a catalyst for trade in the foreign exchange market based on changes in employment.

“The US dollar Index stayed elevated at over 105 points but was lower by 0.39 per cent when the index closed. As such, ringgit is expected to stay within the range of RM4.50-RM4.51 against the US dollar today,” he told Bernama.

Meanwhile, ActivTrades trader Dyogenes Rodrigues Diniz said the Monetary Policy Committee’s (MPC) decision to maintain the overnight policy rate at 2.75 per cent was expected by the market, and this signalled a bit of economic stability.

“From the technical point of view, the US dollar-ringgit pair is currently in an important resistance region.

“If it manages to break below 4.4680, it might drop to as low as 4.3650 in a few days. On the other hand, if the price breaks above 4.5350, it can move up to 4.5800,” he said.

Meanwhile, the ringgit was traded lower against a basket of major currencies.

The local note fell against the Japanese yen to 3.3245/3283 from 3.3160/3184 at Thursday’s close, decreased versus the British pound to 5.3924/3977 from 5.3608/3643 previously and dipped vis-a-vis the euro to 4.7898/7946 from 4.7690/7722.

At the same time, the ringgit was traded mixed against Asean currencies.

The local note weakened against the Thai baht to 12.9161/9356 from 12.8814/8962 yesterday and marginally eased against the Indonesian rupiah to 292.90/293.20 from 292.70/292.90 previously.

However, it rose against the Singapore dollar to 3.3397/3433 from 3.3405/3432 on Thursday and was flat vis-a-vis the Philippine peso to 8.18/8.20 from 8.18/8.18 previously. — Bernama

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