KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 — The ringgit continued its strong upward momentum to end higher against the US dollar today, supported by better-than-expected manufacturing data and strong crude oil prices amid a softer US dollar.
At 6pm, the local note finished at 3.9700/9730 against the greenback, gaining 150 basis points from the close of 3.9850/9900 on Thursday.
Oanda Corp Head of Trading for Asia-Pacific, Stephen Innes, said the ringgit was in the highlight once again after the release of the better-than-expected Industrial Production Index (IPI) data yesterday.
“The IPI data, which rose five per cent in November 2017, had cemented the market’s view on the likelihood of Bank Negara Malaysia’s January interest rate increase,” he told Bernama.
Meanwhile, another dealer said, firmer crude oil prices, which saw the benchmark Brent crude oil continued hovering above US$69 per barrel today, also lent support to the ringgit.
“This is because a higher crude oil price could improve the country’s oil and gas revenue,” he said.
The dealer added that the weakness in the US dollar, weighed by the fall in its December producer prices data, also benefited the ringgit.
At noon, the local unit breached 3.96 against the greenback and dealers remained optimistic that it could test the 3.95 level any time soon.
However, at the close, it was traded lower against a basket of major currencies on mild profit-taking.
It depreciated against the Singapore dollar to 2.9895/9924 from Thursday’s close of 2.9886/9926, fell against the euro at 4.8128/8181 from 4.7605/7681 yesterday and eased against the pound to 5.4040/4084 from 5.3738/3821 yesterday.
Vis-a-vis the yen, the local note weakened to 3.5727/5761 from 3.5695/5749 on Thursday. — Bernama