KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 ― The ringgit opened slightly higher against the US dollar today amid firmer global oil prices, an analyst said.
At the time of writing, the benchmark crude oil price gained 0.72 per cent to US$115.05 per barrel.
At 9am, the local note stood at 4.3925/3960 versus the greenback from Friday’s close of 4.3980/3995.
Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the firmer oil prices could be the underpinning factor for the ringgit amidst uncertainty in the global market.
“The possible relaxation in COVID-19 measures beginning June 1, 2022 for Shanghai have resulted in higher crude oil prices,” he told Bernama.
Mohd Afzanizam said data from China suggested that its Zero Covid Strategy was taking a toll on its economy.
He added that China’s economic activity slumps as its retail sales and industrial production index contracted by 11.1 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively, during the month of April.
Similarly, the US New York Empire State Manufacturing Index also down to -11.6 in May 2022 from 24.6 in April 2022, signalling that recovery in the manufacturing sector is still tentative.
Hence, Mohd Afzanizam said such dynamics would mean demand for the safe-haven currency will continue to remain sturdy as the economic uncertainty heightened.
However, the ringgit was traded mostly lower against a basket of major currencies.
It depreciated against the Singapore dollar to 3.1573/1601 from Friday’s close of 3.1482/1497, decreased vis-a-vis the euro to 4.5880/5916 from 4.5625/5640, and slid versus the British pound to 5.4151/4194 from 5.3568/3586.
However, the local note strengthened versus the Japanese yen to 3.3982/4012 from 3.4127/4142 previously. ― Bernama