Ringgit opens slightly higher against US dollar

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit opened slightly higher, driven by local investors, as international players waited on the sidelines for a clearer market direction.

At 9am, the ringgit was quoted at 4.2750/2850 from 4.2780/2830 of Wednesday’s close.

According to an analyst, concerns remain on whether demand for oil would rebound to pre-pandemic levels as the benchmark Brent crude stayed above US$40 per barrel.

“The global demand has now improved slightly but the fear of a Covid-19 resurgence is still out there. If global markets are closed again for the second time; the oil market will crash,” he said.

On the local front, despite unemployment data showing an increase in April, the government’s Prihatin and Penjana stimulus packages will buffer the impact as those unemployed will still receive financial assistance.

“Globally, we have seen the unemployment rate spike due to Covid-19, including in developed nations such as the US and the UK. Malaysia is not spared. However, the government’s initiative is expected to mitigate the impact in the long run,” he said.

Meanwhile, the ringgit was traded mostly lower against benchmark currencies.

Japanese yen continues its bullish momentum on risk-on sentiment as the ringgit slipped to 4.0032/0129 from 3.9844/9894 at yesterday’s close.

The Bank of Japan will begin its two-day monetary policy meeting today and the central bank is expected to keep its key interest rates unchanged in negative territory.

Against the British pound, the local note dipped to 5.3643/3772 from 5.3616/3692 yesterday while it declined against the euro to 4.8051/8176 from 4.8033/8107.

Vis-a-vis, it was slightly higher against the Singapore dollar at 3.0663/0745 from 3.0664/0709.