KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 — The ringgit ended lower against the US dollar, as the greenback stayed firm near its six-month high ahead of several key central bank rate decisions this week, particularly from the United States Federal Reserve (US Fed).
The ringgit’s performance was also in tandem with regional currencies as sentiment remained subdued amid lingering concerns over China’s struggling property market, a dealer said.
At 6pm, the local note fell to 4.6870/6915 against the US dollar from last Friday’s close of 4.6815/6845.
SPI Asset Management managing director Stephen Innes said although the Fed is likely to keep rates unchanged, it is expected to convey a resolutely hawkish stance through its statement this week, which is potentially holding out the possibility of one more rate hike later this year to the 5.50 to 5.75 per cent range.
“This is supporting the dollar more broadly,” he told Bernama.
On another note, Innes said Chinese developer Country Garden Holdings Co faced two significant tests on Monday, including an initial deadline to pay interest on dollar bonds and the end of creditor voting on its request to extend payment on a yuan-denominated note.
Despite the recent signs of growth and inflation bottoming out amid measures taken by Beijing to boost investor confidence, foreign funds have been talking with their feet, exiting Chinese stocks en masse.
“The Chinese market’s influence among global fund managers’ portfolios is reaching the un-investible zone due to the accelerating economic decoupling from the rest of the world. Hence, the Asia foreign exchange is feeling a bit of a downdraft again for Chinese property developers’ growing laundry list of issues,” he added.
Meanwhile, the ringgit traded mostly lower against a basket of major currencies.
It fell against the Japanese yen to 3.1750/1783 from 3.1670/1693 at last Friday’s close, weakened against the euro to 5.0020/0068 from 4.9919/9951 but higher against the British pound to 5.8128/8184 from 5.8196/8233 and previously.
The local note traded mixed against other Asian currencies.
It improved vis-à-vis the Singapore dollar to 3.4347/4383 from 3.4350/4374 at last Friday’s close and was flat against the Philippines’ peso at 8.24/8.25.
It decreased against the Thai baht to 13.1156/1337 from 13.0681/0812 previously and was flat against the Indonesian rupiah at 304.8/305.3.