Ringgit to move higher next week with GDP data in focus: analyst

Ringgit to move higher next week with GDP data in focus: analyst

Local note to linger around 4.4100 to 4.4200, predicts economist

KUALA LUMPUR – The expected pause in the US Fed funds rate is projected to lead to a weaker US dollar in the near term, thus continuing to boost the ringgit’s appeal next week.

Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist and social finance head Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid believes the ringgit will be able to traverse its immediate support level of 4.4254 and would linger around 4.4100 to 4.4200 next week.

“In addition, all eyes would be looking at Malaysia’s first quarter (1Q) economic data, which will be announced on May 12. “Our preliminary estimates showed that 1Q gross domestic product (GDP) could come in at around 5.0% to 5.5% with domestic demand being the key driver for growth,’’ he said.

He said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) remained sanguine about the domestic economic outlook.

During the week, BNM’s monetary policy committee unexpectedly increased the overnight policy rate (OPR) by 25 basis points to 3.00%.

The central bank said at that level, the benchmark interest rate would be back to pre-crisis levels and would be more aligned with the stronger state of the economy. “We will ensure that our OPR supports sustainable growth while keeping inflation in check,” it said in its May 2023 monetary policy statement snapshot.

The US Federal Reserve also appears to be reaching its terminal rate after a smaller 25 basis points rate rise on Wednesday, pressuring the greenback against a basket of major currencies.

Yesterday, the ringgit traded stronger against the US dollar at a two-week high of 4.4350/4400 against Friday’s close of 4.4600/4645 a week earlier.

Meanwhile, the local note traded mostly lower against a basket of major currencies compared to a week earlier except for the euro, where it rose to 4.8900/8955 from 4.9011/9060 last week.

The ringgit weakened against the British pound at 5.5908/5971 from 5.5558/5614 and went down vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.3050/3090 from 3.2770/2805 a week earlier. The ringgit also traded mixed against its Asean counterparts.

The local note appreciated against the Indonesian rupiah to 302.1/302.6 from 303.9/304.3 previously and increased vis-a-vis the Philippine peso to 8.02/8.03 from 8.05/8.06. It slipped against the Thai baht to 13.1446/1661 from 13.0612/0801 and was lower versus the Singapore dollar at 3.3464/3507 from 3.3351/3387 the previous week.

– Bernama, May 6, 2023

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