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Friday, February 7, 2014

Ringgit falls to fresh record low of RM2.624 against Singapore dollar

FEBRUARY 07, 2014
After three days of softening to an all-time low of RM2.622 against the Singdollar
last Thursday, the ringgit fell further to RM2.624 at the start of this week,
said The Straits Times. – The Malaysian Insider pic, February 7, 2014.
The Malaysian ringgit hit a fresh record low against the Singapore dollar this week as several regional currencies continue to stay weak, which analysts attributed to capital outflows from emerging markets to developed markets.

The Straits Times reported that just three days after softening to an all-time low of RM2.622 against the Singdollar last Thursday, the ringgit fell further to RM2.624 at the start of this

It was hovering around RM2.6207 yesterday, said the republic's authoritative newspaper.

The ringgit's persistent weakness was not so much due to the Singdollar gaining strength, but rather a massive outflow of capital from the emerging markets back to developed markets, experts told broadsheet.

"Overall, in terms of fiscal and financial strength, (Singapore) is perceived to be stronger, so our currency has held up better and it looks as if the ringgit has been weakening against the Singdollar," Fundsupermart general manager Wong Sui Jau was quoted as saying.

Oanda currency analyst Wu Mingze agreed, telling The Straits Times: "In terms of fundamentals, Malaysia is not looking great, but it's not that bad either compared to Thailand, the Philippines, or Vietnam."

He added that despite coming close to a current account deficit in the middle of last year, Malaysia's trade surplus had been improving, which would help to keep its current account in the black.

The outflow of capital has hit emerging market currencies, with the Thai baht and Indonesian rupiah among those particularly hard-hit.

One Singdollar was trading at 26.86 Thai baht yesterday evening. It was also equal to 9,611 Indonesian rupiah.

It was hard to say how long the volatility will last or how low the currencies could go, the analysts added.

However, judging by past market swings, Wu said it was likely that Malaysia's central bank would intervene if the ringgit depreciates to as low as RM3.80 against the US dollar.

Today, one US dollar buys about RM3.33.

But Asian currencies would have to ride out the volatility until confidence returns, said Wong. "When we will hit bottom, it's hard to say. But confidence will return and the rebound could be quite fast."

Companies said the weak ringgit has not affected business much.

Mike Lim, executive director of bottling firm Dr Who, which imports some material from across the Causeway, said the weaker ringgit was a cushion against general rising costs in Malaysia. "But we don't expect it to stay weak very long," he said. – February 7, 2014.

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