Foreign Exchange Guide to Malaysia
In this guide we review :
- Malaysian ringgit info - general info about the Malaysian ringgit
- Malaysian ringgit in the markets - recent MYR moves and predictions from the FX markets
- Buying Malaysian ringgit cash online - travel money for Malaysia
- Sending money to Malaysia - save on Malaysian ringgit bank transfers to Malaysia
- Malaysian ringgit exchange rates - latest info & charts.
Malaysian ringgit (MYR) general currency information
The word ringgit is an obsolete term for jagged in Malay and was originally used to refer to the serrated edges of silver Spanish dollars which circulated widely in the area during the 16th and 17th century Portuguese colonial era.
Between 1995 and 1997, the ringgit was trading as a free float currency at around 2.50 to the US dollar, but following the onset of the 1997 East Asian financial crisis, the ringgit witnessed major dips to under 3.80 to the dollar by the end of 1997 as a result of capital flight. During the first half of 1998, the currency fluctuated between 3.80 and 4.40 to the dollar, before Bank Negara Malaysia moved to peg the ringgit to the US dollar in September 1998, maintaining its 3.80 to the dollar value for almost seven years while remaining floated against other currencies. In addition, the ringgit was designated non-tradeable outside of Malaysia in 1998 to stem the flow of money out of the country.
On 21 July 2005, Bank Negara announced the end of the peg to the US dollar immediately after China's announcement of the end of the renminbi peg to the US dollar. The ringgit would experience more acute plunges in the value since mid-2014 following the escalation of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal that raised allegations of political channeling of billions of ringgit to off-shore accounts, and uncertainty from the 2015–16 Chinese stock market turbulence and the effects of the 2016 United States presidential election results.
Malaysian ringgit (MYR) in the markets
The Malaysian ringgit was Asia’s best performing currency in September. While many Asian currencies lost ground against the US dollar, the ringgit finished the month 1.2% stronger than it had been in August, buying $0.236 (USD/MYR 4.232). The ringgit’s year-to-date gain over USD rose to 6%.
The ringgit’s recent stability marks a refreshing change for those in Malaysia. The currency had been Asia’s worst performer in 2016.
Recent economic data from Malaysia has been excellent. Export growth is now above 30% per annum, industrial production above 6% and inflation ticked up to 3.7% in August, from 3.2% in July.
The team at BMI Research said in September that the ringgit would appreciate further against USD to $0.244 (USD/MYR 4.1) by the end of Q1 2018. BMI cited continued efforts by Malaysia’s government to reduce its fiscal deficit and strength in the Chinese yuan as their reasons. BMI said that risks to the ringgit included American protectionism and the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates faster than markets were expecting.
Important trading partners for Malaysia include Singapore and China. Against the Chinese yuan, the ringgit had its best month in fifteen as it gained 2.2% to ¥1.576. Against the Singapore dollar, the ringgit had its best month in five, gaining 1.3% to S$0.321.
Malaysia Trip Checklist
Travel money for Malaysia
Save money and time by Ordering your Malaysian ringgit online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the MYR cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.
Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.
For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in Malaysian ringgit otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.
Sending money to Malaysia
When sending money to Malaysia it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 3 simple steps :
- Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
- You specify the local or Malaysian ringgit amount you want to transfer
- Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
- Once your funds are received by the provider the converted MYR amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in Malaysia.
By comparing the rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more Malaysian ringgit deposited into the recipient bank account in Malaysia and less margins and fees kept by the banks!