KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit opened lower against the US dollar in early trade as below-than-expected fourth quarter 2019 gross domestic product (GDP) results curbed investors’ appetite for the local currency, a dealer said.
At 9 am, the ringgit was quoted at 4.1410/1440 against the greenback from 4.1350/1380 on Wednesday.
Yesterday, Bank Negara Malaysia announced the economy expanded by 3.6 per cent in Q4 2019, dragging the full-year GDP growth to 4.3 per cent – the lowest since the 2009 financial crisis amid supply disruptions in the commodity sector.
Governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said the full-year growth would have been higher at 4.7 per cent without the supply disruptions in the commodity sector.
She also said the central bank has “ample room” to cut the benchmark overnight policy rate given the current economic challenges.
In a note today, AxiCorp’s chief market strategist Stephen Innes said the weaker results could bring forward rate cut prediction in the market.
He also said improving regional risk sentiment as Covid-19 cases in mainland China appears to be levelling off and rising oil prices should provide some immediate support for the ringgit.
Against other major currencies, the ringgit was traded mixed.
It fell against the Singapore dollar to 2.9834/9867 from 2.9817/9858 on Wednesday and depreciated vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.7669/7700 from 3.7591/7625.
The local currency, however, rose against the euro to 4.5021/5070 from 4.5150/519 yesterday and strengthened versus the British pound to 5.3651/3694 from 5.3668/3724 previously. -Bernama