Ringgit opens lower following stronger US retail sales data

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit opened lower again today as demand for the US dollar strengthened following US retail sales data which picked up further in January, beating market expectations, analysts said.

At 9.01 am, the ringgit dropped to 4.4170/4205 versus the greenback from Wednesday’s closing of 4.3900/3945.

SPI Asset Management managing director Stephen Innes said the resilient US retail sales reading which rose 3.0 per cent in January 2023 from -1.1 per cent in December 2022 suggested that while inflation was moderating, consumers were still spending.

“While underlying inflation remains elevated amid tight labour markets, further evidence that strong US consumer demand is likely driving prices upward and remains a concern.

“How the US Federal Reserve (Fed) will respond to this data is an open question,” said Innes.

Back home, the ringgit was mostly lower against a basket of major currencies.

It fell against the Singapore dollar to 3.3044/3073 from 3.2926/2962 at Wednesday’s close and weakened versus the Japanese yen to 3.2926/2954 from 3.2909/2947 yesterday.

The ringgit slipped vis-a-vis the euro to 4.7209/7246 from 4.7083/7131 but marginally improved versus the British pound to 5.3079/3121 from 5.3093/3147 yesterday. – Bernama