KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 -- The ringgit opened lower against the US dollar today as investors adopt a wait-and-see attitude amid the fast-spreading COVID-19 pandemic and weakening oil prices, said dealers.
At 9.02 am, the local note fell to 4.4180/4250 against the US dollar compared with Friday’s closing of 4.3947/4012.
AxiCorp global chief market strategist Stephen Innes said investors were on the edge this morning due to the rising COVID-19 death around the world.
“The rapid spread has triggered unprecedented draconian containment measures and sees the world come to a standstill. All the while, the US Congress is dilly-dallying on an aid plan
“Traders are now pricing in a severe global recession as the United States/European Union adopt drastic measures to contain the pandemic,” he said in a note today.
Innes added that while the situation in China, South Korea, and Singapore seems to be contained, recent data suggest the virus is spreading in other parts of ASEAN and India.
Another dealer said weakening oil prices to below US$20 per barrel also weighed down on the ringgit.
Brent crude declined 1.66 per cent to US$28.52 a barrel at the time of writing.
Meanwhile, against other major currencies, the ringgit traded mostly higher.
It rose against the Singapore dollar at 3.0293/0350 from 3.0303/0369 at Friday's close, increased against the euro to 4.7131/7224 from 4.7204/7303 and advanced against the British pound at 5.1253/1352 from 5.1926/2042 previously.
The ringgit fell against the Japanese Yen to 3.9895/9973 from Friday’s 3.9811/9898.
Malaysia National News Agency
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