KLCI falls, ringgit strengthens after BNM rate decision

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 12): The FBM KLCI finished 1.3 points or 0.08% lower today at 1,601 after volatile trade in the final trading hour in an apparent  reaction to Bank Negara Malaysia's (BNM) decision to maintain the overnight policy rate (OPR) at 3%. The ringgit strengthened.

BNM's decision may have disappointed stock market investors, who had earlier anticipated an interest rate cut. In theory, interest rate cuts are good for the stock market and bad for currencies.

Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd senior analyst Kenneth Leong told theedgemarkets.com that the "KLCI's pullback followed BNM's statement" at 3pm today that that its monetary policy committee (MPC) decided to maintain the OPR at 3%.

At 5pm, the KLCI closed in the red after rising to its intraday high at 1,608.39.

Across Bursa Malaysia, turnover settled at 1.89 billion shares worth RM1.74 billion. Top decliners included KLCI components Petronas Dagangan Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd.

In currency markets, the ringgit strengthened to 4.1648 against the US dollar at the time of writing amid higher crude oil prices and a stronger yuan. At a glance, the ringgit also appeared to take cue from BNM's decision to maintain the OPR at 3%.
 
The KLCI bucked Asian equities rise amid ebbing US-China trade war concerns.

Reuters reported that Asian stocks advanced to a six-week high on Thursday on hopes for a thaw in US-China trade relations and expectations that the European Central Bank would kick off another wave of monetary easing by global central banks.

It was reported that Chinese stocks rose and the yuan hit a three-week high after US President Donald Trump agreed to delay an additional increase in tariffs on Chinese goods by two weeks at the request of China's Vice Premier Liu He "as a gesture of good will". US stock futures rose 0.38% and safe havens such as the yen, US Treasuries, and gold weakened in a sign of improving appetite for risk, Reuters said.