Ringgit climbs on rising oil and trade progress

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 18): Ringgit approaches its strongest level in more than six months as Brent crude extends gains and traders applaud signs of progress in US-China trade talks.

* USD/MYR strengthens 0.3% to 4.0747; reached 4.0618 on Feb 14, lowest since early August

** Support 4.0642, 4.0550, 4.0435; resistance 4.1045, 4.1334, 4.1492

** READ: Trump Says China Trade Talks ‘Very Productive’ as Team Returns

* Dollar may be on the back foot, as hopes for a breakthrough in US-China negotiations bolster sentiment, according to daily note from AmBank

** Taken together with the Presidents’ Day holiday in the US on Monday, momentum in the dollar is likely to ebb, which should allow ringgit to trade stronger

* Outlook for global growth and EM assets is in doubt following the surprisingly weak US retail sales report last week, says Masakatsu Fukaya, an emerging-market currency trader at Mizuho Bank in Tokyo

** Turned neutral from bullish on EM after bout of risk-off last Thursday, and is watching Fed minutes, Philadelphia Fed business outlook and US-China trade talks this week

* Malaysians are losing patience and are starting to criticize the current government over its unfulfilled election promises, PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Saturday

* A draft law by the European Union classifies palm oil from large plantations as unsustainable and proposes that it be excluded from the bloc’s biofuels target

* Former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng will be extradited to the US to face charges linked to state fund 1MDB, a Malaysian court ruled on Friday

* Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has postponed a trip to Malaysia, after he rescheduled his itinerary to several Asian countries, according to Malaysia’s foreign ministry