KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — The ringgit closed marginally higher against the US dollar today, despite the weakening oil prices, analysts said.
At 6pm, the local note stood at 4.3250/3400 compared with last Friday’s close of 4.3280/3350.
At time of writing, the benchmark Brent crude fell 5.55 per cent to US$26.40 (RM114) per barrel.
AxiCorp global chief market strategist Stephen Innes said the fall in oil prices triggered a wave of risk aversion in Asia today.
“While the realisation has set in that the coronavirus-linked economic disruption could last some time, this (the pandemic) is not only going to be bad for oil prices but also for global risk in general, hence we see there is not much of a change in the ringgit today and it could depreciate again,” he told Bernama.
Innes also commented on the recent Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package which was announced by the government last Friday.
He said the focus has started to shift from the size of the fiscal packages to the speed of implementation.
“The problem is that the political situation is a bit fragile, but fortunately it was not subjected to parliamentary gridlock.
“However, I think it will only be effective when the movement control order (MCO) is lifted. The longer the MCO period, the bigger the package needs to be and my worry is that the MCO gets extended again as the Covid-19 cases in Malaysia are still on an upward trend,” he added.
As of noon today, the Ministry of Health announced that there were 156 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 2,626.
Meanwhile, the ringgit was traded lower against a basket of major currencies.
It fell against the Singapore dollar at 3.0342/0450 from 3.0175/0234 at Friday’s close and weakened against the Japanese yen to 4.0098/0249 from 3.9754/9829.
The local note slipped vis-a-vis the euro to 4.7869/8052 from 4.7608/7702 and depreciated against the British pound to 5.3569/3764 from 5.2841/2943 on Friday. — Bernama