Ringgit extends gains against US dollar at market open

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit opened higher against the US dollar today after the greenback retreated following the United States (US) central bank’s less hawkish tone on interest rate hikes, an analyst said.

At 9 am, the local note rose to 4.4040/4150 against the US dollar from yesterday’s close of 4.4420/4500.

SPI Asset Management managing director Stephen Innes said the ringgit rallied sharply in full catch-up mode, shedding not only political risk but also spurred by US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell’s remarks on slowing down the pace of interest rate hikes beginning this month.

Innes said the anticipation of China’s reopening plans would also provide a boost to Malaysia’s trade balance, which was likely to support the local note in the near term.

“Hence much more follow-through is likely as exporters continue to shed current US holdings and start to exchange on the spot incoming dollars,“ he told Bernama.

Meanwhile, ActivTrades trader Dyogenes Rodrigues Diniz said the below-than-expected November jobs data from the ADP Research Institute further weighed on the US dollar ahead of the US non-farm payrolls (NFP) report’s release.

“From the ADP number (127,000 positions added against 200,000 forecast), the market implied that the NFP data to be released on Friday will likely come below estimates too, which tends to be negative for the US dollar,“ he said.

At the opening, the ringgit was traded mostly higher against a basket of major currencies.

The local note advanced versus the Singapore dollar to 3.2447/2533 from 3.2487/2551 at Wednesday’s close, appreciated against the British pound to 5.3275/3408 from 5.3366/3467 yesterday, and strengthened vis-a-vis the euro to 4.5960/6075 from 4.6010/6098 previously.

However, it declined against the Japanese yen to 3.2200/2285 from 3.2007/2067 yesterday. – Bernama