KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 ― The ringgit is expected to stabilise at 4.74 to 4.75 against the US dollar next week following its significant rise in the previous week, said Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid.

He said that markets will be watching for the US Nonfarm Payrolls (NFP) data closely next week with consensus estimates pegging it at 188,000 for February.

“Should the NFP turn out to be within expectations or lower than expected, the US dollar would weaken,” he told Bernama.

However, Mohd Afzanizam said that it is highly uncertain at this juncture and it boils down to the timing for the first rate cut which is now expected to occur in June instead of the previous target in March.

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“Such a moving target would make the market indecisive, leading to a high demand for the US dollar. Therefore, incoming data is very critical for investors to form their opinion and trading strategy,” he added.

For the week just ended, the ringgit traded mostly higher against the US dollar after Bank Negara Malaysia announced it stepped up its engagements with government-linked investment companies, government-linked companies, corporations and investors to encourage continuous inflows to the foreign exchange market.

On a Friday-to-Friday basis, the ringgit climbed to 4.7440/7480 against the greenback compared with 4.7750/7795 a week earlier.

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The local note was traded higher against major currencies.

It rose vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.1642/1681 from 3.1677/1709 a week earlier, increased against the British pound to 6.0042/0111 from 6.0437/0494, and appreciated versus the euro to 5.1434/1493 from 5.1656/1705 previously.

The ringgit was also traded higher against all Asean currencies.

It appreciated to 13.2140/2345 against Thai Baht from 13.2198/2381 last Friday, rose versus the Singapore dollar to 3.5257/5301 from 3.5489/5525 a week ago, edged up against the Indonesian rupiah to 301.5/302.0 from 306.1/306.5 previously, and strengthened against the Philippine peso to 8.43/8.44 from 8.54/8.55 last week. ― Bernama