The ringgit continue its weakness against the US dollar as plunging crude prices and a money scandal involving Prime Minister Najib Razak damp the economic outlook for the South East Asian nation.
Based on the current global economics, analysts are predicting more weakness in 2016 for Asia’s worst-performing currency in 2015. These analysts believed as the Federal Reserve continues to increase interest rates in U.S. and slowdown in China weaken demand for commodities from the region, Malaysia net oil income that constitute about 22 percent of government revenue would be affected the more.
The ringgit sank 19 percent to 4.2923 a dollar on Thursday, after reaching 17 year low, 4.48, in September. It is expected to drop additional 2.4 percent to 4.4 by end of Q4 2016, according to survey compiled by Bloomberg.
“The rapid decline in oil prices, the dollar’s bullish bias and domestic issues were the main factors driving the ringgit’s weakness in 2015,” said Christopher Wong, a Singapore-based senior currency analyst at Malayan Banking Bhd. “While challenges remain, we see limited weakness in the ringgit in 2016.”
As foreign investors becomes wary of the situation, around 663 million ringgit of Malaysian shares was sold in December, according to a report from MIDF Amanah Investment Bank. Making total sales this year 19.2 billion ringgit. Malaysia foreign exchange reserves stood at $94.9 billion as of December 15, after declining 18 percent this year.
Also, 10-year government bonds increased 12 basis points to 4.20 percent, while that on five year notes lost 36 basis points.
Naira Opens the Week at N413.30 Against U.S Dollar
The Nigerian Naira opened better than expected against the United States Dollar at the Investors and Exporters forex window on Monday following a record decline on Friday.
The local currency opened at N413.30 against the U.S Dollar on Monday, representing N1.6 or 0.39 percent improvement when compared to Friday’s closing rate of N414.90.
On Friday, investors turnover at the Investors and Exporters forex window stood at $193.59 million. While Naira spot rate dropped to as low as N415 against the United States Dollar and forward rate of the local current hits N432.05 to a greenback.
However, at the unregulated parallel market, the Naira remained at over N550 to a United States Dollar on Monday, according to operators.
Despite the Central Bank of Nigeria stopping the sale of forex to bureau de change operators and forcing media companies from publishing black market rates, the naira remained under pressure and trading at record lows across key foreign exchange markets.
Efforts to curb further decline and boost the local currency’s value are yet to crystalise as chronic scarcity due to years of weak foreign revenue and over-reliance on importation continues to weigh on Naira outlook.
Naira Gained Slightly at I&E Forex Window to N412.81/$US
Despite the Nigerian Naira trading at a record-low across the nation’s unregulated black market, the embattled currency opened slightly higher at N412.81 to a United States Dollar on Monday at the Investors and Exporters Forex Window, representing an increase of 0.08 percent when compared to the N412.88 it closed on Friday.
The improvement in Naira value was after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed all depoisit money banks operating in the country to freeze bank accounts linked to Oniwinde Olusegun Adedotun, the founder of www.abokfx.com, a forex rate publishing platform.
Godwin Emefiele, the Governor, CBN had blamed black market and bureau de change operators for the constant plunge in Naira value against its global counterparts and insisted that forex rates remained the apex bank stipulated rates and not the unregulated rates imposed by speculators and hoarders and published to the public by Abokifx and other business platforms.
“There was a particular time I asked our colleagues to call the so-called owner of abokiFX, that we want to understand his model and how he came about advertising those rate, we find him as someone, a Nigerian who lives in England and conducts this nefarious activity on our economy.
“It is economic sabotage and we will pursue him, wherever he is, we will report him to international security agencies, we will track him, Mr Oniwinde, we will find you, because we cannot allow you to continue to conduct an illegal activity that kills our economy.” Emefiele said.
The governor further stated that the website was set up primarily manipulate and speculate forex rates. He said “they get naira loans, use to purchase dollars, take a position, change the rate over a given period, sell the dollars they purchased and make a profit, this is completely illegal, unacceptable and we will pursue them.”
On Friday, the last time Abokifx published unregulated forex rates, Naira was qouted at N570 to a United States Dollar while the British Pound and the Euro were quoted at N770 and N655, respectively.
U.S Dollar Jumps to Three Weeks High on Better Than Expected Retail Sales
The United States Dollar rose to a three-week high after data from the Commerce Department showed that the U.S retail sales rebounded in the month of August despite falling consumer confidence.
The US Dollar Index rose to 93.40 on Monday to extend Friday breakout above the 93.00 key resistance level.
U.S retail sales jumped to its highest in five months in the month of August to beat 0.8 percent decline predicted by experts. Retail sales grew by 0.7 percent in August to increase the odds of the US Federal Reserve announcing tapering during next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.
“U.S. consumption is not slowing as quickly as it appeared a month ago despite the fading stimulus, and the Delta variant did not much affect the industries feeding into retail sales,” said Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial in New York. “The economy continued to hum in August.”
Against the Japanese Yen, the U.S dollar strengthened to 109.48 from 109.91 attained on Friday on broad-based selloff during London trading session, while heavy selloff plunged British pound against the U.S dollar 1.36610 before reboundling slightly to 1.36946.
The Euro dropped from 1.17883 recorded on Friday to 1.16995 on Monday during London trading session.
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