Ringgit A Little 'Unfortunate', Continues Decline Since Last Week


 The Malaysian ringgit (RM) strengthened marginally in the opening Asian trading session this morning after the US dollar's currency position moved flat due to the latest US job growth data dispelling speculation about an economic slowdown.

At exactly 9am, the ringgit rose to 4.6480/6545 against the US dollar from last week's close at 4.6525/6580.

The latest economic data in the United States is seen as somewhat mixed and shows that the world's largest economy is still strong and resilient despite facing some market weakness at the end of 2023.

The NFP report last week showed that there was an increase of 216,000 new jobs created in December last year which exceeded the forecast of 170,000.

According to the Chief Economist of Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd, Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the market this week needs to focus heavily on inflation data in the US.

He also said that inflation is expected to remain stable around 3.2% in December and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is predicted to drop lower to 3.8% from 4.0% previously.

Meanwhile, the ringgit is trading low compared to several major currency groups. It fell against the British pound to 5.9132 from 5.8891, also fell against the euro to 5.0886 from 5.0763 and the Japanese yen to 3.2144 from last week.

Not to forget, the local currency is traded quite mixed compared to other Asean currencies. It fell slightly against the Singapore dollar at 3.4968 from 3.944 and the Thai baht at 13.4107 from 13.4001 at the last close.

However, the ringgit was unchanged against the Philippine peso and strengthened slightly against the Indonesian rupiah to 299.5 from 299.8 last week.