A customer counts her ringgit notes outside a money changer at the central business district in Singapore in this August 25, 2015 file photo.  Malaysia's ringgit jumped more than 5 percent to a five-week high on October 7, 2015 on stop-loss dollar selling and higher local stocks.  The ringgit, the worst performing Asian currency so far this year, surged as much as 5.2 percent to 4.1600 per dollar, its strongest since Sept 1.     REUTERS/Edgar Su/Files

Malaysia: Ringgit opens higher on steady commodity prices

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit recovered from yesterday’s losses to open higher against the US dollar today on steady commodity prices, said an analyst.

At 9 am, the local currency appreciated to 4.1840/1865 versus the greenback from Thursday’s close of 4.1865/1880.

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid told Bernama that the elevated Brent crude and crude palm oil (CPO) prices could be supportive for the ringgit as it will benefit the Malaysian economy.

Brent crude has continued to hover above US$92 per barrel level, while Malaysia’s CPO benchmark price rose to RM5,507 a tonne at the close yesterday.

However, the dollar is expected to gain traction following the unresolved Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“The conflict is unlikely to be resolved and could be in for a long haul given the trust deficits among the Western powers towards Russia.

“Apart from that, the expected 50 basis points hike (in the policy rate) during the upcoming Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting mid-March could also signal that the US dollar would remain a highly sought-after currency as a shelter against volatility,” he said.

In that sense, he said ringgit could stay weak and trade within the RM4.18 to RM4.19 range today.

Meanwhile, the ringgit was traded mixed against other major currencies.

The local unit appreciated against the British pound to 5.6919/6953 from 5.6936/6957 on Thursday’s close and rose to 4.7526/7554 from 4.7559/7576 against the euro.

However, it declined against the yen to 3.6405/6430 from 3.6376/6392 yesterday and eased against the Singapore dollar to 3.1145/1168 from 3.1133/1149 previously. – Bernama