By Sharifah Pirdaus Syed Ali
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 18 (NNN-Bernama) — The Malaysian ringgit is expected to trade in a tight range at RM4.67 to RM4.68 against the US dollar next week as traders seek fresh leads for market direction.
Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said market chatter over possible interest rate cuts in the United States may gain momentum this month.
He said it all started with the US nonfarm payroll (NFP) which came in lower than expected, followed by the country’s inflation rate which decelerated to 3.2 per cent in October after sustaining at 3.7 per cent in the past two months. And on Thursday, US jobless claims rose to 231,000 last week from 218,000, suggesting that the labour market is softening.
“The question now is when the US Federal Reserve (Fed) will cut the rate and how steep the reduction is going to be. Nonetheless, ringgit is expected to remain in a narrow range in the near term on uncertainties over the US rates. The focus next week will be on the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes as market participants would want to gain more insights on the latest Fed decision,” he told Bernama.
Hong Leong Research, in a note, said the ringgit this week rode on the trend of US dollar weakness seen elsewhere. However, the ringgit was weaker across the board versus most of the G10 currencies and major regional currencies, except for the Japanese yen and Hong Kong dollar.
“We are neutral-to-slightly bearish on USD/MYR for the week ahead,” it said.
On a Friday-to-Friday basis, the ringgit appreciated against the US dollar to 4.6785/6825 from 4.7065/7105 a week earlier.
The local unit depreciated against major currencies.
It decreased against the euro to 5.0771/0814 from 5.0232/0275 a week ago, slipped versus the Japanese yen to 3.1267/1296 from 3.1072/1101 and weakened vis-a-vis the British pound to 5.8056/8105 from 5.7480/7529 a week earlier.
The ringgit was also traded mostly lower against its ASEAN peers.
It fell against the Singapore dollar to 3.4769/4801 from 3.4599/4631 last week and declined against the Indonesian rupiah to 301.9/302.3 from 299.8/300.2.
The local note was also lower against the Thai baht at 13.3298/3481 from 13.1108/1267 but improved versus the Philippine peso to 8.40/8.41 from 8.41/8.42 at the previous Friday’s close.