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KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit rebounded after two consecutive trading days of losses to open marginally higher against the US dollar this morning ahead of the fourth Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting scheduled next week, an *** yst said.

At 9 am, the local currency appreciated to 4.4060/4070 against the greenback from 4.4075/4090 at the close yesterday.

SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes said market investors are pricing in BNM’s expected overnight policy rate (OPR) hike to above 4 per cent.

"With inflation managed by subsidies and price controls, and little in the way quantitative easing unwind, BNM does not need to over-deliver on the rate hike front.

"Hence, we think the BNM will not be as aggressive as market pricing, and that opens the door to a weaker ringgit except if the Federal Reserve (Fed) should take its foot off the rate hike after September,” he said.

He said the primary risk for the ringgit comes from election risk, which typically stunts inflows, while the overriding risk where the ringgit has significantly underperformed is that it has not responded well to improvement in terms of trade via higher oil prices.

"I expect the ringgit to stay weak until the Federal Reserve Board indicates it needs to cut rates and there is a definitive change in China's zero COVID-19 policy.

"We expect the dollar-ringgit to trade at 4.45 before improving into the fourth quarter due to a pause in the Fed rate hike and improving growth in China. But we do not envision the ringgit returning to sub RM4.20 anytime soon, so we are targeting RM4.35 for year-end,” he said.

Nonetheless, the ringgit traded lower against a basket of major currencies.

The ringgit was marginally lower against the British pound at 5.3559/3571 against Thursday’s close of 5.3485/3503 and weakened versus the Japanese yen to 3.2411/2423 from 3.2344/2357 previously.

The local currency also depreciated vis-a-vis the Singapore dollar to 3.1686/1696 from 3.1670/1685 previously and fell against the euro to 4.6144/6155 from 4.5961/5977 yesterday. - Bernama


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