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KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit continued to close at its lowest level in more than two years against the US dollar today, pressured by China’s weak second-quarter (Q2) economic data.
At 6 pm, the local currency slipped to 4.4480/4505 versus the greenback from Thursday’s close of 4.4435/4450.
China eked out 0.4 per cent growth in Q2 2022, far below expectations as a result of its COVID-19 control measures.
SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes said the spike in China’s COVID-19 cases meant longer lockdowns could be expected.
Earlier today, the People's Bank of China decided to keep the one-year medium term lending facility rate unchanged at 2.85 per cent as expected, hence not injecting fresh funds into the banking system.
‘’This is a sign that the central bank is moving away from policy easing after its last rate cut in January and that is negative for local currency markets,’’ he told Bernama.,
Innes said the market was also closely awaiting the inflation expectations component of the University of Michigan confidence survey to be released later today, which could push the US Federal Reserve to hike interest rates by 100 basis points (bps) if the reading came in high.
‘’I, however, think they will stick to 75 bps as gasoline prices are much lower this month and the base effect kick in, which means headline inflation will fall quickly.
‘’But with the market still hanging on to some 100-bps hike expectation, it should still support the US dollar,’’ he noted.
At home, the ringgit was traded mixed against a basket of major currencies.
The local currency was higher against the Singapore dollar at 3.1688/1710 compared with 3.1717/1732 yesterday and appreciated versus the British pound to 5.2629/2658 from 5.2762/2780 previously.
However, it decreased vis-a-vis the euro to 4.4662/4687 from 4.4635/4650 on Thursday and weakened against the Japanese yen to 3.2048/20699 from 3.2009/2022. - Bernama