The Chinese yuan is expected to remain soft against the US dollar and this may impact the ringgit due to their close correlation, says analyst.
KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit closed lower against the US dollar today as the greenback stayed firm amid fading hopes of an early US rate cut as well as China’s disappointing economic data, dealers said.
Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist Afzanizam Rashid said China’s consumer price index (CPI) came in lower than expected at (-0.8%) year-on-year in January and this represents the fourth month in a row where the economy has been experiencing a deflationary trend.
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“The latest CPI print would mean China’s economy needs stimulus measures, be it in the form of monetary or fiscal policy. As such, the Chinese yuan is expected to remain soft against the US dollar.
“Given that the ringgit is also closely correlated with the yuan, the ringgit is likely to be affected by such a trend,” he told Bernama.
SPI Asset Management managing director Stephen Innes said that yesterday, Federal Reserve (Fed) officials conveyed a unified message, underscoring a clear consensus that the March rate cuts are not on the agenda.
“The Fed is dedicated to a cautious and deliberate strategy regarding rate adjustments throughout 2024. Given this less dovish stance, which delays the date and the pace of rate cuts, the ringgit faced challenges in gaining ground today,“ he said.
He added that attention has shifted to the Japanese yen, with the currency experiencing selling pressure as the market deliberates the potential timing of a Bank of Japan (BoJ) rate hike following dovish remarks from central bank officials.
At 6pm, the ringgit fell to 4.7705/4.7745 against the US dollar from yesterday’s closing rate of 4.7570/4.7645.
The ringgit was traded mixed against a basket of major currencies.
It improved vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.2068/3.2100 from 3.2159/3.2212 at yesterday’s close, depreciated against the British pound to 6.0251/6.0302 from 6.0095/6.0190 previously and slipped versus the euro to 5.1445/5.1488 from 5.1233/5.1314.
The local currency was traded mostly lower versus other Asean currencies.
The ringgit declined against the Singapore dollar to 3.5471/3.5506 versus 3.5415/3.5474 yesterday and was also lower against the Indonesian rupiah at 305.0/305.5 compared to 304.2/304.8 yesterday.
It slipped versus the Philippine peso to 8.53/8.54 from 8.50/8.52 but was better versus the Thai baht to 13.3191/13.3362 from 13.3650/13.3917 yesterday.