KLCI falls 0.6% on regional share loss, weaker ringgit outlook

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KUALA LUMPUR (June 9): The FBM KLCI fell 10.4pts or 0.60%, pressured by a weaker outlook for the ringgit against the US dollar, and regional share losses.

Reuters reported that Asia shares sank in a sea of red on Tuesday as speculation of US rate rise as early as September hit emerging markets generally, while failing to give a lasting lift to the dollar.

Malaysia's KLCI settled at 1,729.05 at 5pm on losses in plantation shares like PPB Group Bhd and Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK).

Jupiter Securities Sdn Bhd chief market strategist Benny Lee said: “Most regional markets are undergoing a correction, and the weakened ringgit against US dollar has pressured the KLCI."

"Also, palm oil prices has started to drop as well, while foreign institutions are still selling this week. All these factors are giving a bearish sentiment over the market,” Lee said.

Although the ringgit was traded firmer at 3.7525 against the US dollar today, analysts and economists said the ringgit may weaken further to 3.8000 in the near term.

They said the ringgit could depreciate further if Malaysia's sovereign credit rating was downgraded amid anticipation of higher US interest rates. Expectation of higher US interest rates this year has resulted in a stronger US dollar versus world currencies.

Such sentiment had not augured well for Asian shares today. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.76%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 1.2% while South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.06%.

In Malaysia, Bursa Malaysia saw 1.33 billion shares worth RM1.47 billion traded. Decliners beat gainers at 605 against 221.

Rapid Synergy Bhd led gainers, while the decliners were headed by British American Tobacco (M) Bhd. The top-active counter was newly-listed Dolphin International Bhd.

Among top decliners, PPB and KLK had fallen ahead of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board's announcement tomorrow on the industry's output, inventory and export numbers.