KUALA LUMPUR (March 18): The ringgit is expected to trade in cautious mode, with upward bias against the US dollar next week, ahead of a decision by the US Federal Reserve (Fed) on its monetary policy.
Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the market will continue to endure periods leading to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in the middle of the week.
He said that following a 50-basis-points (bps) interest rate hike by the European Central Bank this week, similar dynamics can be expected from the FOMC.
“A 25 bps hike seems to be on the cards next week. But beyond that, we shall see the Fed’s narrative, which could potentially explain the appreciation of the ringgit.
“Nonetheless, the prevailing market condition is still highly fluid, whereby risk-off mode could easily emerge. If that happens, it could boost the US dollar," he told Bernama.
Mohd Afzanizam added that the US dollar versus ringgit is likely to gyrate towards its immediate support level of 4.4652 next week.
The local currency ended the week higher against the US dollar, following concerns over a potential banking crisis after two US banks got into trouble.
On a week-on-week basis, the ringgit was stronger against the US dollar at 4.4850/4880 at Friday's (March 17) close, versus 4.5180/5220 a week earlier.
Meanwhile, the local note was traded mostly lower against a basket of major currencies compared to a week earlier.
It fell against the pound to 5.4390/4426 from 5.4148/4196 a week earlier, and dropped against the yen to 3.3679/3704 from 3.3038/3070, but improved vis-a-vis the euro to 4.7743/7775 from 4.7823/7865 previously.
Meanwhile, the ringgit traded mixed against its Asean counterparts.
The local note shrank versus the Singapore dollar to 3.3393/3418 from 3.3316/3351 in the previous week, and depreciated against the baht to 13.0987/1151 from 12.8894/9064.
It gained vis-a-vis the Indonesian rupiah to 292.20/292.60 from 292.30/292.80 a week earlier, and remained unchanged against the Philippine peso at 8.19/8.20.