Ringgit higher at opening ahead of BNM's MPC meeting outcomes

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 10): The ringgit opened slightly higher today ahead of Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, an analyst said.

At 9.10 am, the local currency was quoted at 4.1630/1680 against the greenback from Wednesday’s close of 4.1700/1740.

The central bank has reduced the overnight policy rate (OPR) four times this year, bringing it to 1.75 per cent, the lowest level recorded since 2004.

The MPC will meet today before holding the last meeting on Nov 3.

AxiCorp chief global market strategist Stephen Innes said local traders will likely hit the pause button ahead of the BNM’s rates decision later today, which is very typical.

“However, with global risk faring much better and crude oil prices getting gingerly supported by the uptick on stock markets overnight, the local note could trade on a more favourable tone,” he told Bernama.

At press time, Brent crude oil price fell 0.49 per cent to US$40.59 per barrel.

Meanwhile, Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid expects BNM to defer the OPR cut as recent economic data such as vehicle sales, exports and Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) indices have been quite decent.

He said this indicates less urgency by BNM, considering that the benchmark rate has been reduced by a total 125 basis points between January and July this year and it is already at an all-time low.

The ringgit was traded mostly lower against other major currencies.

It fell against the British pound to 5.4086/4163 from 5.3985/4053 yesterday and slipped against the euro to 4.9165/9228 from 4.9060/9124.

The domestic unit depreciated against the Singapore dollar to 3.0454/0501 from 3.0447/0487 previously but rose against the yen to 3.9203/9254 from 3.9314/9363.