Ringgit flat in early trade

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit opened flat against the greenback today due to muted demand as investors await further market catalyst. 

At 9 am, the local currency remained unchanged at 4.7380/7420 versus the US dollar from yesterday's closing of 4.7380/7425.

ActivTrades trader Dyogenes Rodrigues Diniz said market participants are waiting for the release of the United States' (US) nonfarm payrolls data later tonight which has the potential to cause significant moves in the market. 

Earlier on, the US Initial Jobless Claims data for March came in at 221,000, surpassing the forecasted 213,000, resulting in a negative impact on the greenback.

Hence, he said the nonfarm payrolls data is vital to provide direction for the foreign exchange market.

Meanwhile, Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid noted that a risk-off sentiment has taken centre stage, as benchmark equities decline and safe haven US Treasury securities yield lower returns amid escalating concerns over geopolitical conflict in the Middle East.

"The recent increase in crude oil prices warrant a closer scrutiny as geopolitical risks would dominate market sentiments to a point where market players would seek protection in the safe haven currency US dollar.

"On that note, the ringgit versus the US dollar could stay soft, lingering around RM4.74-RM4.75 today," he told Bernama.

At the opening, the ringgit was traded mostly higher against a basket of major currencies except the Japanese yen.

It appreciated against the euro to 5.1365/1408 from 5.1445/1494 at Thursday's close, rose vis-a-vis the British pound to 5.9917/9967 from 6.0002/0059 yesterday, but was lower versus the Japanese yen at  3.1390/1419 from 3.1222/1254 previously. 

Similarly, the ringgit traded mostly higher against ASEAN currencies.

The local note was higher versus the Thai baht at 12.8978/9129 from 12.9048/9223 on Thursday,  improved vis-a-vis the Philippines' peso at 8.38/8.39 from 8.40/8.41 yesterday and rose against the Singapore dollar to 3.5146/5178 from 3.5172/5208 previously.

It was also traded flat against Indonesian rupiah to 298.1/298.4 compared to 298.1/298.5 at yesterday's close. - Bernama

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