Ringgit slides against greenback on rising Middle East tensions

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit, which reached a nine-month high yesterday, ended lower against the US dollar today following rising tensions in the Middle East.

An analyst said the killing of a key Iranian military commander, Qasem Soleimani, in a US airstrike at Baghdad International Airport on Friday morning local time had led to global geopolitical uncertainty.

At 6 pm, the ringgit was quoted at 4.1005/1035 to the greenback compared with 4.0850/0900 yesterday.

“Despite the benchmark Brent crude soaring 3.8 per cent to US$68.79, the ringgit continued to decline due to fears of economic activity disruption,“ she told Bernama.

She added that the airstrike by Washington had led to several military powerhouses, including China and Russia, to condemn the attack while Iran had vowed to retaliate.

“From what we can see, tensions will continue to rise and the Middle Eastern region, which is rich in oil, will be on a hot spot until the intensity subsides,“ she said.

It was reported earlier that US President Donald Trump ordered the airstrike in a “decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad” that was intended to deter “future Iranian attack plans.”

Meanwhile, the ringgit traded mostly mixed against a basket of major currencies.

It contracted against the Singapore dollar to 3.0363/0401 compared with 3.0329/0375 at yesterday’s close while it slipped against the Japanese yen to 3.7936/7974 from 3.7529/7582.

The local note, however, strengthened against the British pound to 5.3577/3637 from 5.3971/4058 and increased against the euro to 4.5675/5717 from 4.5760/5824. - Bernama