KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — The ringgit ended lower against the US dollar today amid mild profit-taking in Asian currency markets as investors digested China’s weak economic data, a dealer said.
At 6pm, the ringgit retreated to 4.3250/3280 against the greenback from yesterday’s close of 4.3150/3200.
SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes said investors are closely monitoring China’s economic outlook after the country posted feeble economic data that still beat market expectations.
“They are now awaiting Chinese economic data that will catch up with the moves in the yuan and local equity markets.
“However, when Chinese consumers start spending, it will be a material boost to global growth, commodities, Chinese stocks as well as the ringgit given the ringgit’s strong correlation with the Chinese currency,” he told Bernama.
Innes noted that markets were also struggling for direction ahead of tomorrow’s Bank of Japan (BOJ) meeting as traders were not sure whether the BOJ would remove its yield curve control mechanism.
“If they disband it completely, the dollar-yen will drop significantly, and this could cause the greenback to weaken against a basket of Asean currencies as well as the yuan, and then the ringgit would move in catch-up mode,” he said.
The ringgit also fell against a basket of major currencies, except against the Japanese yen.
The local unit fell to 5.2804/2841 against the British pound from 5.2643/2704 at yesterday’s close, was slightly easier against the Singapore dollar at 3.2683/2711 from 3.2677/2720 and weakened versus the euro to 4.6788/6820 from 4.6693/6747.
However, it appreciated vis-à-vis the Japanese yen to 3.3582/3608 from 3.3616/3658 at Monday’s close.