KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — The ringgit is likely to remain within a tight range against the US dollar next week ahead of Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) annual report on March 29, said an economist.
Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist and social finance Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said markets continue to expect BNM to deliver another 25 basis points (bps) rate hike in May.
“We believe the case for a 25 bps hike in the overnight policy rate (OPR) is still on the cards. We shall hear more next week from BNM when they unveil their annual report.
“As such, we expect the US dollar to range between RM4.41 and RM4.42 next week,” he told Bernama.
Mohd Afzanizam said markets would still be cautious about the banking sector crisis in advanced countries, especially in the United States (US), whereby there is a surge in demand for discount windows from the banks.
“Markets also remained cautious on the latest issue on Deutsche Bank in Germany. So risk-off mode could set in which would result in demand for safe-haven currency such as the US dollar,” he added.
The local currency ended the week lower against the US dollar on mild profit-taking after a sharp appreciation recently.
On a week-on-week basis, the ringgit was stronger against the US dollar at 4.4250/4305 at Friday’s close versus 4.4850/4880 a week earlier.
Meanwhile, the local note was traded mostly higher against a basket of major currencies compared to a week earlier.
It strengthened against the British pound at 5.4034/4101 from 5.4390/4426 a week earlier and improved vis-a-vis the euro to 4.7476/7535 from 4.7743/7775, but dropped against the Japanese yen to 3.4099/4144 from 3.3679/3704 previously.
Meanwhile, the ringgit traded higher against its Asean counterparts.
The local note rose versus the Singapore dollar to 3.3178/3225 from 3.3393/3418 in the previous week, appreciated against the Thai baht to 12.9610/9835 from 13.0987/1151, gained vis-a-vis the Indonesian rupiah to 291.90/292.50 from 292.20/292.60 and increased against the Philippine peso to 8.15/8.16 from 8.19/8.20 previously.
Bernama - The Malay mail