(Updated)

Ringgit higher versus greenback after PERMAI announcement

Ringgit higher versus greenback after PERMAI announcement
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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 19): The ringgit opened higher against the US dollar today, strengthened by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s announcement of the RM15 billion Malaysian Economic and Rakyat’s Protection Assistance Package (PERMAI) package yesterday, as well as the higher crude oil prices.

At 9.13am, the ringgit had risen to 4.0450/0490 versus the greenback from 4.0500/0540 at yesterday's close.

A dealer said that crude oil is expected to stabilise due to progress in the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out.

“Investors’ sentiment will be positive, hence a steadier local currency,” he said.

The prime minister announced the RM15 billion PERMAI assistance package yesterday, which comprises 22 initiatives to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and cushion its impact on the people as well as the economy.

The package is anchored on three goals, namely to fight the pandemic, preserving the people’s welfare and supporting business continuity.

Meanwhile, traders will be paying close attention to Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) two-day Monetary Policy Committee meeting that starts today.

Analysts have projected that the central bank would make another interest rate cut in response to the potential economic impact of the reimplementation of the movement control order (MCO) and the declaration of the nationwide state of emergency.

Despite its improved performance against the greenback, the local note opened mostly lower against a basket of major currencies except the Japanese yen, where it rose to 3.8984/9027 from 3.9010/9056 at the close yesterday.

The ringgit weakened against the Singapore dollar to 3.0418/0467 from 3.0378/0417 yesterday, eased vis-a-vis the British pound to 5.4988/5046 from 5.4784/4855 previously and fell versus the euro to 4.8888/8940 from 4.8847/8903.