Ringgit retreats on concerns over coronavirus spread

A Malaysia Ringgit note is seen in this illustration photo June 1, 2017. — Reuters pic
A Malaysia Ringgit note is seen in this illustration photo June 1, 2017. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — The ringgit closed lower today as investors stayed on the sidelines amid rising concerns over the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus globally.

At 6pm, the ringgit was quoted at 4.0840/0870 against the US dollar compared 4.0645/0665 at Friday’s close.

An analyst said the ringgit was expected to see weak demand due to the coronavirus outbreak which had triggered investors to shift from emerging market currencies including the ringgit to safe havens such as the US dollar and Japanese yen.

The rising concerns had also pushed the oil price down as it slipped 12.4 per cent from Monday’s peak of US$65.20 per barrel to US$58.05 per barrel today.

“The adverse impact leading to a downward momentum is expected to continue until the dust settles,” she said.

Against other major currencies, the ringgit was traded lower.

It declined to 3.0052/0076 from 2.9954/9980 against the Singapore dollar, and depreciated vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.7526/7557 versus 3.7323/7345 on Friday.

The local currency also shed against the euro to 4.4985/5035 compared with 4.4791/2821 and increased slightly against the British pound to 5.3210/3258 from 5.3221/3263 previously. — Bernama

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