KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 — The ringgit rose 1.4 per cent against the US dollar in the first quarter of 2019 (1Q19), driven mainly by non-resident portfolio inflows at RM13.5 billion, said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).
However, the central bank said from April to May 15, the ringgit depreciated by 2.2 per cent against the US dollar, in line with most regional currencies.
“The recent depreciation pressure reflected cautious investor sentiment in global financial markets, amid the weakening global growth outlook, as well as uncertainties surrounding geopolitical and global trade developments,” it said in a statement today.
Meanwhile, BNM said headline inflation averaged -0.3 per cent in 1Q19 from 0.3 per cent in 4Q18.
“Headline inflation turned negative in January and February (-0.7 per cent and -0.4 per cent respectively) due to lower domestic fuel prices, but turned positive in March (0.2 per cent) as the increasing trend in global (crude) oil prices led to higher domestic fuel prices,” it added.
Moving forward, the central bank said headline inflation was expected to average between 0.7 and 1.7 per cent this year.
Core inflation — excluding the impact of consumption tax policy changes — was unchanged at 1.6 per cent.
“Core inflation is expected to be stable, supported by the continued expansion in economic activity and in the absence of strong demand pressures,” it added. — Bernama