Ringgit falls as investors await Fed's direction

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KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit ended weaker on Tuesday against the US dollar as investors flock to safe haven assets amid the prevailing interest rate concerns ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve minutes tomorrow.

At 6 pm, the local currency weakened to 4.4660/4680 versus the greenback from Monday’s close of 4.4570/4595.

The markets have mixed views on the Fed’s pace of rate hikes over the next few months.

"While some analysts are projecting a sharp interest rate hike, others believe that easing inflation in July has reduced expectations for another big rate hike,” a trader said.

Market players are also awaiting the upcoming release of the US building permits data, an indicator of the health of the US real estate sector, after China’s surprise interest rate cut added to concerns about slowing growth in the global economy amid its weaker industrial production and retail sales numbers as well as deepening property crisis.

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The trader said declining oil prices also contributed to the weakness in the domestic currency.

Brent crude eased US$0.80 to US$94.31 per barrel and the West Texas Intermediate crude dropped US$0.40 to US$89.01 per barrel.

Nevertheless, the ringgit was higher against a basket of major currencies.

It marginally rose against the Singapore dollar at 3.2346/2365 from 3.2379/2402 at Monday’s close and appreciated vis-a-vis the Japanese yen at 3.3284/3301 from 3.3393/3415 previously.

The local unit gained versus the British pound to 5.3686/3710 from 5.3796/3826 yesterday and increased against the euro at 4.5258/5279 from 4.5488/5514 at Monday's close. - Bernama


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