KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 — The ringgit closed lower versus the US dollar in line with other emerging Asian currencies, taking cue from the fall of the Chinese yuan and lack of risk appetite, a dealer said.
At 6pm, the ringgit was quoted at 4.0710/0740 against the greenback, compared with 4.0580/0620 yesterday.
Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the market seemed to be on the risk-off mode as news on the spread of coronavirus in China had caused jitters in the market.
“The (jittery market) sentiment had provided support and lifted the demand for the safe-haven assets including the greenback.
“In the equities market, shares related to healthcare industry also took the spotlight, suggesting markets are wary about a potential outbreak, reminiscence of the SARS epidemic in 2002/2003,” he told Bernama.
From the technical analysis standpoint, he said the ringgit was already in an overbought position against the greenback which could also explain today’s market correction.
He added that the markets will be eyeing tomorrow’s Monetary Policy Committee statement from Bank Negara Malaysia to gauge the current economic condition for further market direction.
Overall, the ringgit was also traded lower against other major currencies.
It was lower against the Singapore dollar at 3.0160/0193 versus 3.0108/0142 yesterday, and depreciated against the Japanese yen to 3.7016/7057 versus 3.6831/6877.
The local currency fell against the euro to 4.5147/5189 compared to 4.4995/5056 and slipped against the British pound to 5.3078/3133 from 5.2685/2757 yesterday. — Bernama