Ringgit opens marginally lower against US dollar

ringgit-dollarKUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit opened marginally lower against the US dollar today as demand for the local currency remained lacklustre, said dealers.

At 9.01 am, the local note traded at 4.4300/4330 against the greenback from Wednesday’s close of 4.4295/4325.

Hong Leong Investment Bank Research, in a note, said Malaysia’s gross exports expanded by a strong 26.5% in February, year-on-year.

“The solid expansion in trade was mainly a result of a recovery in commodity prices and low base effect due to the timing of the Chinese New Year festivity last year,” it said.

The research house said the trade surplus, on the other hand, amounted to RM13.4 billion in Jan-Feb 2017, slightly ahead of RM12.7 billion recorded in the same period last year.

“Given the strength in exports and trade surplus, we maintain our ringgit forecast at RM4.30-4.55 against the dollar in 2017,” it said.

Meanwhile, the dollar was taken aback after news of missile firing by North Korea into the sea, a day before US President Donald Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, deteriorating investors’ appetite towards the dollar.

“Investors are also on the look out for the US non-farm payrolls report slated to be out on Friday, as it would be the driver for the US economy,” he said.

The ringgit was traded mostly lower against other major currencies.

It rose against the Singapore dollar to 3.1604/1646 from 3.1637/1665 on Wednesday, however, it declined against the yen to 4.0087/0125 from 3.9941/9986.

The local note weakened against the British pound to 5.5313/5377 from 5.5280/5331 on Wednesday and was lower against the euro at 4.7286/7336 from 4.7254/7290 yesterday.