No more ringgit, say some S’pore moneychangers

RinggitPETALING JAYA: The volatility of the Malaysian ringgit following the sudden drop last Friday has seen the currency being stocked up in Singapore, The Straits Times reported today.

Four moneychangers which the daily spoke to admitted that they had run out of the ringgit altogether.

This was despite the rate being less favourable than last Friday when the ringgit had traded above RM3.10 to the Singapore dollar (SGD).

With some controls put in place by Bank Negara Malaysia, the ringgit had recovered to below RM3.05 as of yesterday.

According to checks at most moneychangers, the ringgit was fluctuating between RM3.01 and RM3.03 to the SGD.

A moneychanger told ST that customers had bought every ringgit he had in a matter of hours, after he had underestimated the demand yesterday.

One customer said she bought the ringgit as she is a frequent traveller to Johor for shopping and other reasons, and changed a small amount yesterday, even though she did not think the rate was good, ST reported.

Meanwhile, bankers and investment analysts suggested more volatility is expected of the ringgit.

“I had earlier forecasted that the ringgit could weaken further to hit RM3.15 against the Singapore dollar in the first quarter of next year.

“However, now I think the ringgit could hit that level earlier, given the political developments in the US,” ST quoted Macquarie Bank head of forex strategy Nizam Idris as saying.

A senior official at Credit Suisse concurred, saying that though many Asian currencies had weakened, the pressure on the Malaysian currency seemed more intense.

“Malaysia’s foreign exchange reserves have diminished, from about US$120 billion at the end of 2014 to about US$98 billion now.

“This is contrary to the rest of Asia, where most central banks have had strong growth in their reserves. As such, the Malaysian authorities will be less able to mitigate any excessive weakness in the ringgit,” Credit Suisse senior investment strategist Heng Koon How told ST.

Yesterday, an analyst from CIMB in Malaysia voiced her concerns that the ringgit outlook was negative with the currency possibly hitting between RM4.50 and RM4.80 against the US dollar over the next three to six months.

“Since the election, the US yield curve has steepened to reflect the market’s expectation of an inflationary impact of Trump’s campaign promises.

“This narrowed the premium of emerging market yields over the US and resulted in unwinding of carry trades funded in US dollar. The ringgit has fallen in line with this trend and the weakness was further compounded by the relatively high foreign holdings of Malaysian government bonds,” CIMB Investment analyst Ivy Ng told The Edge Markets.