Selangor Journal

Ringgit slightly higher at opening

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — The ringgit opened slightly higher against the US dollar today as positive oil prices offset movement control order (MCO) worries.

At 9am, the local currency rose to 4.0350/0400 against the US dollar from Wednesday’s close of 4.0370/0420.

Axi chief global market strategist Stephen Innes said the ringgit snapped its run of gains yesterday due to the extension of the MCO in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Johor and Penang.

“The local market tends to react negatively to the initial mobility restriction announcement and then improve from that point on.

“So the ringgit is unlikely to wander out too far along the beaten track,” he told Bernama.

Innes said the positive oil prices also helped to offset the higher United States (US) yield, which resulted in the greenback being broadly higher against most major currencies yesterday.

“Also, the US Federal Reserve’s rhetoric remains dovish and appears written in stone in the Federal Open Market Committee, suggesting policymakers may indeed let the economy run hot, which for now means less US dollar support,” he added.

On Tuesday, the government announced the extension of the MCO in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Penang by another two weeks — from February 19 until March 4.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri said other states that were under the MCO previously will now be under the conditional movement control order (CMCO), also effective February 19 to March 4; while Perlis will now be the only state with recovery movement control order (RMCO) status.

Meanwhile, the local currency traded mixed against other major currencies.

The ringgit went up vis-a-vis the euro to 4.8610/8686 from 4.8710/8783 at Wednesday’s close and was higher versus the British pound at 5.5969/6043 from 5.6046/6131 previously.

It slipped against the Singapore dollar to 3.0402/0449 from 3.0388/0432 yesterday and depreciated against the yen to 3.8152/8211 from 3.8092/8154 earlier.

— Bernama

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