KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — The ringgit ended marginally lower against the US dollar on Thursday, weighed down by sentiment from the minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s (Fed) policy meeting, coupled with the declining oil price, a dealer said.
At 6pm, the local note stood at 4.2355/2400 versus the greenback from yesterday’s close of 4.2350/2390.
Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd economist Adam Mohamed Rahim said the ringgit weakened against the greenback amid fears of an earlier than expected tapering of the US Fed asset purchasing programme from the minutes of its latest meeting.
“While US Fed officials were somewhat divided on the path to monetary policy normalisation, the fact that there is a discussion on it tells that the time for tapering asset purchases is getting closer, causing the US dollar to strengthen against the ringgit,” he told Bernama.
Adam said the ringgit depreciation also followed the drop in Brent crude oil price, pressured by concerns over weaker demand as Covid-19 cases rose and a surprise increase in US gasoline inventories.
At press time, the benchmark Brent crude oil price fell by 2.90 per cent to US$66.25 per barrel.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health reported 22,948 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the country’s highest daily figure ever, bringing the cumulative total infections to 1,489,460 cases.
At the close, the local note was traded higher against a basket of major currencies.
The ringgit rose against the Singapore dollar to 3.1061/1099 from 3.1142/1176 at Wednesday’s close and improved against the Japanese yen to 3.8617/8661 from 3.8619/8659 previously.
It gained versus the British pound to 5.7984/8046 from 5.8223/8278 and strengthened vis-a-vis the euro to 4.9534/9587 compared with 4.9617/9664 yesterday.