KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit closed lower versus the US dollar as the greenback stayed firm on upbeat US economic data, a dealer said.
Last Friday’s data showed US homebuilding surged to a 13-year high in December, with retail sales also on the rise and manufacturing activity rebounding to its highest in eight months.
At 6pm, the ringgit was quoted at 4.0580/0620 against the greenback, compared to 4.0520/0560 last Friday.
The dealer said the ringgit market was also in cautious mode as traders were looking for market direction ahead of the consumer price index (CPI) announcement and Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) policy decision this week.
AxiTrader chief Asia market strategist Stephen Innes said BNM is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, when they are widely expected to keep their benchmark rates unchanged, subject to where the phase one US-China trade deal’s economic data unfolds.
“The local unit is expected to be a primary beneficiary of the global reflation trade, so improving worldwide economic data could be the key to a more fruitful ringgit revival,“ he added.
Overall, the ringgit was traded mixed against other major currencies.
It was flat against the Singapore dollar at 3.0108/0142 versus 3.0108/0149 last Friday, and depreciated against the Japanese yen to 3.6831/6877 versus 3.6776/6816 previously.
The local currency fell against the euro to 4.4995/5056 compared to 4.5083/5139, but improved against the British pound to 5.2685/2757 from 5.2895/2963 last Friday. - Bernama