Ringgit strengthens against US dollar, regional currencies in early trade

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit opened higher against the greenback today as the latest economic data in the United States strengthens hopes for an early US interest rate cut, said an analyst.

At 9.05 am, the ringgit appreciated to 4.5955/6005 against the US dollar from Thursday's close of 4.6055/6125.

SPI Asset Management managing director Stephen Innes said the weak economic data in the United States, which included a higher-than-expected unemployment rate and disappointing home sales figures, should negatively impact the US dollar.

"Currently, the main issue in the foreign exchange (FX) markets is that they are pricing in a potential interest rate cut of 150 basis points, with an expected cut in March next year. However, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) is only indicating a 75 basis points cut starting in the second half of the year. 

"This discrepancy will be resolved once we receive the first US non-farm payroll report in early January.

"A robust jobs report could delay an early Fed rate cut, while a weak report is likely to solidify the expectation of a rate cut in March and lead to a significant weakening of the US dollar," he told Bernama.

The local note traded higher against a basket of major currencies.

It appreciated against the Japanese yen to 3.2452/2489 from 3.2723/2776 on Thursday, rose against the euro to 5.0900/0955 from 5.1242/1323 and strengthened vis-a-vis the British pound to 5.8537/8601 from 5.8932/9022 at yesterday's close.

The ringgit was also traded higher against Asean currencies.

It was higher against the Singapore dollar at 3.4830/4871 from 3.4972/5031 and improved vis-à-vis the Philippine peso to 8.28/8.30 from 8.30/8.31 at yesterday's close.

The local currency edged up against the Indonesian rupiah to 298.0/298.5 from 298.6/299.3 and strengthened against the Thai baht to 13.4050/4282 from 13.4979/5260, previously. - Bernama

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