FBM KLCI down 18.35 points; ringgit weakens past 4.00 against US dollar

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KUALA LUMPUR (June 18): The FBM KLCI fell 18.35 points or 1.04%, tracking Asian share losses as investors evaluated the impact of the US-China trade spat on world markets.

The ringgit weakened past the 4.0000 level against the US dollar.

At Bursa Malaysia, the KLCI closed at 1,743.43 points at 5pm after falling to its intraday low at 1,735.30. Among Asian share markets, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.75% while South Korea's Kospi sank 1.16%. China markets were closed today for the Dragon Boat Festival holiday.

Reuters reported that Asian shares fell to a 2-1/2 week low on Monday after US President Donald Trump cranked up trade tensions by going ahead with tariffs on Chinese imports, prompting Beijing to immediately respond in kind.

It was also reported that emerging Asian exchange rates slipped broadly on Monday with heightening global trade tensions sparking sharp falls in the region's export-correlated currencies. The dollar index, measuring it against a basket of six major peers, was close to 95.131, a peak scaled on Friday, thanks to the dollar soaring more than 1 percent last week after the US Federal Reserve gave a hawkish signal on interest rates while the European Central Bank struck a dovish tone.    

In Malaysia today, Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd head of research Pong Teng Siew told theedgemarkets.com: “Foreign net outflows from Bursa Malaysia amounted to RM8 billion since May 2, and the emerging market currencies also fell (depreciated) against the US dollar after the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates."

In currency markets, the ringgit weakened to 4.0015 against the US dollar earlier today. At the time of writing, the exchange rate was 3.9978.

Across Bursa Malaysia, 1.91 billion shares valued at RM2.04 billion were traded. Top decliners included Nestle (M) Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd and Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd.

The top-active stock was Kretam Holdings Bhd, which saw some 167 million shares traded. Kretam fell 23.5 sen to close at 46 sen. Earlier today, the stock hit limit down after falling by as much as 30 sen to 39.5 sen.