Ringgit marks time before december trade data

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 30): Malaysia’s ringgit stays in a narrow range as investors await December trade data and a Federal Reserve policy decision.

* USD/MYR little changed at 4.1105 vs range of 4.1093-4.1130

** Support 4.0935, 4.0900, 4.0778; resistance 4.1549, 4.2020, 4.2437

* Trade surplus probably fell to RM7.2 billion in December vs RM7.55 billion November: Bloomberg survey before data due at 5pm local time

** Exports rose 1.3% in December y-o-y vs +1.6% prior: survey

* Nation’s 10-year bond yield rises 1bp to 4.09%

* Govt auction of RM4 billion of 2023 Islamic bonds closes at 11.30am local time

* Maybank Kim Eng Securities remains mildly bullish on Malaysia’s bonds as Bank Negara Malaysia is likely to remain on hold in 2019, says Winson Phoon, head of fixed-income research in Singapore

** Still, there are downside risks to GDP growth due to global trade outlook, and if 4Q GDP disappoints, this may spur dovish positioning in bonds

* Global funds are “reasonably keen” on Malaysian stocks that will benefit from diversion of trade due to US-China tensions as well as smaller companies with potential catalysts: UOB Kay Hian

* Overseas investors have bought a net RM222.4 million of Malaysian equities in January, putting the market on track for the first month of net purchases since September

* Govt unveiled a plan Tuesday to combat corruption, with a blueprint aimed at boosting transparency and accountability in the administration