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Outlook For Ringgit For The Rest Of 2009

  • Malaysia Ringgit (MYR) has appreciated 6% after hitting a low in early March taking the ytd losses to 1% as of May-end 2009
  • March 3, 2009: MYR fell to the lowest level (3.725-3.735/USD) in 3 years due to weakening exports and foreign investment
  • February 2009: To promote bilateral trade and investment for economic development, Malaysia's central bank and Chinese central bank established RMB40billion currency swap arrangement for 3 years

    Risks for ringgit in 2009:
  • External balances: electronic and commodity exports are contracting at a sharp pace and the trend is likely to continue through 2010 with a sluggish recovery in 2010. Presently greater contraction in imports relative to exports is sustaining the trade and current account surpluses and forex reserves
  • Easing capital flows: keeping interest rate on hold in April and May 2009 has helped reverse some of the past capital outflows. Rising bond issues at higher yields and sharia bond issues are a plus. But ratings downgrade due to increasing fiscal deficit can weigh on debt inflows. Impact on lower corporate earnings ad revival of risk aversion can weigh on stock market. A recession in 2009 and rising bond issues in U.S. (safer-haven) can be a negative. FDI is expected to fall over 50% y/y in 2009 due to decline in export manufacturing related capex
  • Central Bank policy: In 2008, central bank was intervening in the FX market selling USD reserves to contain currency depreciation but in 2009 the central bank has been defending the exchange rate to support exports especially as reserves have also been declining. foreign exchange reserve stood at US$88bn as on 15 May, 2009 which is sufficient to finance 8.3 months and 3.8 times the short-term debt. Large forex reserves and external surpluses are a plus to deal with export contraction and any revival of capital outflows. Trend in USD and SGD will also be improtant determinants of movement in ringgit
  • Since the central bank decided to keep key rate at 2%, USD/MYR is expected to be higher by the end of Q2 2009. But USD/MYR will be lower in H2 2009 as the economic situation is improving. But further stabilization in domestic and global economy is still necessary to guide USD/MYR around 3.45 by the end of 2009
  • MYR continues to track the SGD and is expected to weaken against USD in mid-2009 due to anticipated resurgence in USD strength
  • Declining forex reserves and depreciating SGD would put further pressure on ringgit
  • Confidence of ringgit would be dampened due to increasing deficit on overall balance of payments, declining exports, outflow foreign capital, and expectation of further rate cut by central bank
  • In 2009, ringgit would be weak against USD as the process of de-leveraging by international investors will continue to boost demand for USD

p/s photos: Hanako Takigawa


solomon said…
My call is MYR will range bound btwn 3.45-3.6 for US dollar.

The only concern I have is the devaluation of major currencies due to problem back homes and geopolitical issues. This may in turn lead to similar devaluation in emerging economies to boost their exports.

Whether Jim Roger's currencies crisis will come is yet to be seen but I think it is neither far away.

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