MYR - Recent Performance
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.