KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit jumped to a 10-month high against the greenback on anticipation of softer interest rate hikes in the United States going forward after the latest US inflation data showed a declining trend.
At 9 am, the ringgit surged by 270 basis points to 4.3300/3350 against the greenback, a level last seen in April 2022, from Thursday’s close of 4.3570/3615.
ActivTrades trader Dyogenes Rodrigues Diniz said the US Consumer Price Index (CPI) data, an indicator of inflation, was in line with market expectations, at 6.5 per cent year on year.
He said the market interpreted this as a signal that inflation is under control in the United States, which might push the US Federal Reserve (Fed) to slow down the pace of interest rate hikes in the second half of 2023.
“Many are now forecasting a 25 basis points increase going forward. All of this points to a further depreciation of the US dollar in the short and medium term.
“With lower inflation and lower interest rates, investors look out for more attractive investment alternatives and could sell US dollars to buy riskier assets, such as stocks or other currencies,” Diniz told Bernama.
From a technical point of view, he said the US dollar-ringgit has started to break through the support region at 4.3650 and it is possible that it will drop to as low as 4.30 over the next few days.
Meanwhile, an analyst said Malaysia’s positive economic figures, which had spurred buying interest for the ringgit, were also supported by China’s ongoing economic reopening.
It was reported that China’s inflation remained moderate with the CPI rising by 1.8 per cent in December from a year earlier, up from 1.6 per cent in November, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
The republic’s inflation rate stood at 2.0 per cent in 2022, below the official target of around 3.0 per cent.
Meanwhile, the ringgit traded mostly lower against a basket of major currencies.
The local currency gained slightly against the Singapore dollar to 3.2751/2794 from 3.2764/2803 at yesterday’s close and declined against the euro to 4.6981/7035 from 4.6890/6938.
The ringgit fell vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.3480/3524 from 3.3242/3281 but gained versus the British pound to 5.2852/2913 from 5.3033/3088 at Thursday’s close. – Bernama