Ringgit ends marginally lower as trade war returns to focus

This photo illustration shows Malaysian ringgit banknotes in Kuala Lumpur on June 29, 2015. — AFP pic
This photo illustration shows Malaysian ringgit banknotes in Kuala Lumpur on June 29, 2015. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — The ringgit ended marginally lower today, as a spectre of a full-blown US-China trade war return to focus following President Donald Trump “aggressively tinged” trade tweets ahead of crucial trade talks between the world’s two largest economies.

At 6pm, the ringgit stood at 4.1250/1280 from Monday’s close of 4.1230/1270.

The market was closed yesterday in conjunction with the installation of Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah as the country’s 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Vanguard Markets Pte Ltd managing partner Stephen Innes said the markets were riding on the negative wave from Trump’s aggressively-tinged trade remarks on Tuesday, which suggested that both countries were no closer to an agreement.

In fact, according to him, US-China could be farther apart.

“This has sent a worrying sign to the markets..  and it is hurting the ringgit today as trade war returns to focus,” he told Bernama.

Trump on Tuesday morning tweeted that “My team is negotiating with them now, but they always change the deal in the end to their benefit.

“If & when I win, the deal that they get will be much tougher than what we are negotiating now...or no deal at all,” according to the US President.

Meanwhile, Innes said the local unit was also pressured by anticipations of an interest rate cut by the US Federal Reserve (Fed), as widely projected by the markets of 25 basis points cut during the Fed’s two-day policy meeting beginning July 30.

“The resilient US dollar in the face of a widely expected US Fed interest rate cut early Thursday (Malaysia time 2 am) has weighed down the ringgit’s performance,” he added.

At the closing bell, the ringgit traded mostly lower against a basket of major currencies, except the pound.

It fell against the Singapore dollar to 3.0134/0162 from 3.0062/0096 on Monday, slid against the yen to 3.7997/8029 from 3.7951/7995 and declined against the euro to 4.5969/6019 from 4.5860/5913.

Vis-a-vis the pound, the local unit advanced to 5.0189/0242 from 5.0849/0915 previously. — Bernama

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