Ringgit rises on positive regional sentiment

MO,7/3/2018, KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit opened higher against the US dollar today on positive regional sentiment and on the back of surprising news that North Korea is open to denuclearisation, said a dealer.   At 9 am, the local note was quoted at 3.8990/9030 versus the greenback from Tuesday’s 3.9020/9050. OANDA Head of Trading Asia-Pacific, Stephen Innes said regional currencies received a boost on news that North Korea is willing to hold talks with the United States on denuclearisation, if the safety of its regime is guaranteed.

The US dollar also continued to weaken on persistent concerns about a trade war following US President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminium.   “The prospect of trade tariffs is raising its ugly head again.But, when all is said and done, these tit-for-tat tariffs are not significant enough a factor to weigh on the ringgit sentiment, let alone derail the buoyant global growth narrative,” said Innes.

On the local front, he said the market is not expecting much from Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting today, as the central bank is anticipated to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged after increasing it for the first time in over three years in January.   At 3 pm today, BNM would be releasing the outcome of its second Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting.

At its first MPC meeting on Jan 25, BNM increased the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) by 25 basis points to 3.25 per cent. The local note, however, traded lower against a basket of major currencies. It fell against the Singapore dollar to 2.9592/9633 from 2.9576/9608 on Tuesday and weakened against the yen to 3.6901/6950 from 3.6857/6888 yesterday. It declined against the British pound to 5.4173/4240 from 5.4039/4084 and eased against the euro to 4.8414/8479 from 4.8158/8211. – Bernama

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Death toll rises to 31 in South Koreas hospital fire

MIRYANG (South Korea): Thirty-one people were killed and more than 40 others injured in a blaze that engulfed a hospital in the southeastern city of Miryang early Friday, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported firefighters as saying.

The fire is suspected to have started at around 7.30 am in the emergency room on the first floor of the main building of Sejong Hospital in the city, about 280 kilometers southeast of Seoul, according to the authorities. The fire was put out in one hour and 40 minutes.

About 100 patients are believed to have been inside the hospital building when the fire broke out.

The authorities had transferred 52 people, mostly patients, to four nearby hospitals.

Some 93 patients from the nursing home adjoined to the main building evacuated unhurt, they said.

The victims’ identities were not immediately known.


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Ringgit rises strongly against greenback on solid economic data


MO,12/1/2018, KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit was significantly higher against the US dollar this morning, touching a level it had not seen since July 2016, as sentiment towards the local unit improved on the back of the country’s solid economic growth. At 9.16 am, the local unit stood at 3.9750/9780 against the greenback from 3.9850/9900 at the close yesterday.   A dealer said the ringgit has been undervalued for quite some time and given the release of promising economic data recently, it had started to trade towards its fair value.

Meanwhile, Kenanga Research said Malaysia’s industrial production index (IPI) registered a convincing growth of five per cent year-on-year in November, which surpassed its expectation of 4.3 per cent and Bloomberg’s median consensus of 4.6 per cent. “With the upbeat IPI data in November, we might see a relatively strong fourth quarter 2017 gross domestic product (GDP) growth. We therefore maintain our GDP forecast of 5.5 per cent for Q4 and 5.8 per cent for the full year of 2017.

“The higher-than-expected IPI growth may suggest that the economic growth trajectory could remain well above its potential or more than five per cent in Q4, bolstering the case for Bank Negara Malaysia to raise the overnight policy rate by 25 basis points as early as the first quarter 2018,” it said in a note here today. Meanwhile, the ringgit traded lower against a basket of major currencies.

It was lower against the Singapore dollar at 2.9928/9953 from 2.9886/9926 at the close yesterday and declined against the yen to 3.5734/5770 from 3.5695/5749.
The ringgit fell against the British pound to 5.3873/3918 from 5.3738/3821 and depreciated against the euro to 4.7915/7955 from 4.7605/7681. – Bernama

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