Ringgit opens higher as Fed chair calms markets

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KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit strengthened against the US dollar at the opening today as the United States’ Federal Reserve (Fed) chair Jerome Powell is seen to be less hawkish in his comments following the announcement of the 75 basis points rate hike yesterday.

At 9.24 am, the local currency rose to 4.4485/4525 versus the greenback from Wednesday’s close of 4.4570/4590.

SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes said the ringgit should see a bit of a reprieve today as Powell's press conference was a bit less hawkish than expected.

"But the big question for currency markets is how much further will the Fed move into restrictive territory?

"With the Fed in data-dependent mode, the next hike of 50 bps or 75 bps will depend on how US core inflation comes out,” he told Bernama.

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On Wednesday, Powell said there will be a point where the Fed would start to slow down on its hikes to assess the impact.

Innes noted that the Fed also does not see the US economy as in a recession.

"I think many are betting on weaker US gross domestic product, which is causing a softer US dollar outlook today,” he added.

Meanwhile, the local currency fell against the Singapore dollar to 3.2189/2222 from Wednesday’s close of 3.2111/2130 and depreciated versus the Japanese yen to 3.2813/2848 from 3.2614/2631.

It also fell against the euro to 4.5366/5407 from 4.5207/5228 yesterday and declined versus the British pound to 5.4085/4133 from 5.3783/3807. - Bernama


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