Ringgit likely to remain firm next week

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit is likely to remain firm against the US dollar next week on the back of the stronger economic data for Malaysia released on Friday.

According to the report, Malaysia's trade grew by 31.5% to RM153.3 billion in May 2017, up from the RM116.6 billion recorded in the same month of last year.

Affin Hwang Investment Bank Vice-President/Head of Retail Research Datuk Dr Nazri Khan Adam Khan said the report, along with other recent economic indicators, suggested that Malaysia's economy was riding along a stronger recovery than previously expected.

"For the year-to-date, the local note appreciated by 5.2% against the greenback.

"We see the Malaysia's improving fundamentals to outweigh the risk of any tightening US bias," he told Bernama.

Nazri Khan noted that the ringgit was easily the strongest major Asian currency this quarter, climbing more than twice as much as the next best – the Chinese yuan.

He was optimistic that along with the continuing domestic demand growth, a steep rebound in both exports and external demand should provide further support for Malaysia's economic growth.

"While we have a more sanguine outlook from continued weaknesses in crude oil prices, we should see the ringgit gravitate towards the level of 4.15 against the greenback by year-end," he added.

For the week just-ended, the ringgit moved between 4.2900 and 4.2970 against the US dollar, mainly influenced by conflicts between the US and North Korea, issues surrounding US monetary policy, crude oil prices, as well as Malaysia's trade data.

On a Friday-to-Friday basis, the ringgit traded lower at 4.2970/3000 against the greenback from last 4.2920/2950 previously.

However, the local note traded higher against other major currencies, except the euro.

It appreciated versus the Singapore dollar to 3.1088/1123 from 3.1181/1220 last week, rose against the Japanese yen to 3.7799/7829 from 3.8328/8365 and advanced against the British pound to 5.5466/5522 from 5.5757/5801.

The ringgit depreciated against the euro to 4.9046/9085 from 4.8963/8015. — Bernama