Ringgit opens lower on softer economic data

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit opened lower against the US dollar today on softer economic data, a dealer said.

At 9 am, the local unit was traded at 4.1175/1225 against the greenback from Thursday’s close of 4.1120/1160.

SPI Asset Management head of trading and market strategy Stephen Innes said Malaysia’s industrial production index (IPI) grew 1.7% year-on-year in February, registering the slowest growth since June 2018, as manufacturing and electricity sector indexes expanded at a softer pace while mining posted a more significant decline.

“The ringgit is hitting a rough patch as domestic conditions deteriorate, yet another victim of US-China trade war,” he said.

Adding to the ringgit woes, he said oil prices have fallen on market talks that the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) could ramp up supplies if prices continue to rise.

The ringgit, however, was mostly higher against a basket of major currencies.

It increased against the Singapore dollar to 3.0356/0404 from 3.0383/0417 and strengthened against the Japanese yen to 3.6839/6887 from 3.7008/7048.

The ringgit rose against the British pound to 5.3775/3844 from 5.3826/3883 but depreciated against the euro to 4.6450/6510 from 4.6367/6428.