Ringgit little changed at opening, trade data in focus

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit was little changed versus the US dollar at opening trade ahead of the release of September trade data.

At 9.02am, the local unit stood at 4.1660/1720 against the greenback compared with Friday’s close of 4.1650/1700.

AxiCorp chief global market strategist Stephen Innes said the possible stumbling block for the ringgit could be the trade data, which could weaken a bit as export growth may have slowed due to the strong local currency.

“But a positive surprise will be good for the ringgit,” he told Bernama.

In addition, he sees it may likely take another week or so for traders to forget about Malaysia staying on the FTSE watch list, although this was entirely expected.

“The Chinese industrial profits data was very good over the weekend and this should help.

“But trades are still awfully concerned about US election risk which sees them buying US dollar and US treasures which have taken some of the steam out of the ringgit of late as has the People’s Bank of China’s weaker fix on the yuan,” he added.

In July, Malaysia’s trade declined 2.2% to RM159.9 billion compared to the same month last year.

Exports continued to record a positive growth in July 2020, expanding by 3.1% year-on-year to RM92.5 billion, the highest value since November 2018, while in contrast, import valued declined 8.7% to RM67.4 billion.

On a month-on-month basis, total trade recorded a double-digit growth of 10.4%.

Against other major currencies, the ringgit was traded mixed.

It appreciated against the Singapore dollar to 3.0252/0307 from 3.0264/0307 on Friday but was weaker versus the yen to 3.9514/9583 from 3.9490/9549.

The local currency was higher against the euro at 4.8396/8483 from 4.8489/8564 previously but declined versus the British pound to 5.3141/3226 from 5.3008/3088.