KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit opened lower against the US dollar today, as the greenback stayed firm following hawkish comments from US Federal Reserve (Fed) chair Jerome Powell.
Powell reiterated his defence for “higher for longer” rates at the Jackson Hole Symposium last Friday, which continued to support the greenback, said an analyst.
Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist Afzanizam Rashid said the ringgit is expected to continue trading in a narrow range as the Fed is likely to keep its restrictive monetary policy stance.
On another note, he said the latest consumer price index (CPI) print for Malaysia, which came in at 2% in July, suggests that Bank Negara Malaysia would be keen to keep the overnight policy rate (OPR) steady at 3% for the rest of 2023.
“In that sense, demand for the US dollar is expected to remain positive amidst the heightened global economic uncertainties, especially in China, as market participants will seek shelter in the safe haven currency.
“The ringgit could range between RM4.63 and RM4.65 against the US dollar today,” he told Bernama.
At 9am, the local note eased to 4.6400/4.6430 against the greenback from 4.6385/4.6430 at last Friday’s close.
Meanwhile, the ringgit opened mostly lower against a basket of major currencies.
The local note decreased versus the euro to 5.0126/5.0158 from 5.0054/5.0103 at last Friday’s close and slipped against the British pound to 5.8441/5.8479 from 5.8385/5.8441, but improved against the Japanese yen to 3.1670/3.1693 from 3.1757/3.1790 previously.
At the same time, the ringgit traded mixed lower against other Asean currencies.
It eased against the Singapore dollar at 3.4246/3.4273 from 3.4202/3.4238 at last Friday’s close, and slid against the Indonesian rupiah to 303.3/303.7 from 303.2/303.7 previously.
However, the local currency appreciated vis-a-vis the Thai baht to 13.2081/13.2223 from 13.2121/13.2309 last Friday and was unchanged against the Philippine peso at 8.20/8.21.