KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 ― The ringgit is expected to trade in the same range of between 4.76 and 4.77 against the US dollar next week, as the greenback is expected to continue its uptrend, said an analyst.

Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the market sentiment is weak, leading to a higher US dollar.

“It remains to be seen whether the US Dollar Index (DXY) can climb further, but the prevailing data points seem to suggest there are still legs for the US dollar to rise further.

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“Therefore, we expect the trend to continue next week with the USD/MYR to linger at the prevailing level,” he told Bernama.

For the week just ended, the ringgit traded mostly lower against the US dollar due to the United States (US) cautious monetary policy of not cutting interest rates for now and concerns over China’s growth.

On Tuesday, the local currency briefly touched 4.80 against the greenback, resulting in Bank Negara Malaysia’s response by issuing its remarks on the prevailing market conditions.

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Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the government is not ignoring or taking the ringgit’s decline lightly, and it is making continuous efforts to address the issue while simultaneously assuring Malaysia’s investment figures remain intact.

He said the central bank has been assigned to monitor the ringgit closely, and on the government’s side, relevant ministries and authorities, including the investment council, are conducting daily meetings to tackle the issue.

Anwar noted that if confidence were reduced because of the ringgit, Malaysia would not have been able to achieve its record-high investment of RM329.5 billion last year, an increase of 23.0 per cent from 2022.

“Why should we look only in terms of the ringgit and compare it to 1998? In 1998, the ringgit fell, investments fell, and inflation rose, it’s not the same,” he said.

At the same time, Anwar said it is important for the government to focus on what can be done and what needs to be done on a daily basis.

On a Friday-to-Friday basis, the ringgit was traded higher against the US dollar at 4.7750/7795 compared to 4.7765/7820 a week earlier.

Against other major currencies, the local note traded mostly lower except that it rose vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.1677/1709 from 3.1780/1818 a week earlier.

It decreased against the British pound to 6.0437/0494 from 6.0117/0186 and depreciated versus the euro to 5.1656/1705 versus 5.1419/1478 previously.

The ringgit was also traded mostly lower against a few Asean currencies, except for the Thai baht, against which the local note appreciated to 13.2198/2381 from 13.2559/2763 last Friday.

It eased versus the Singapore dollar to 3.5489/5525 from 3.5479/5522 a week ago, fell against the Indonesian rupiah to 306.1/306.5 compared to 305.7/306.1 previously and slipped against the Philippines peso to 8.54/8.55 from last week’s closing rate of 8.53/8.55. ― Bernama