Ringgit Now Asia’s Worst Performing Currency

Malaysian Ringgit

The Ringgit takes a further plunge as January’s worst-performing currency over concerns that a protracted drop in crude oil will weigh on the oil-exporting nation.

On Thursday, the currency fell to a new 2009 low after Brent slid 2.3% overnight on a report showing US oil stockpiles climbed to the highest level in weekly data dating back to 1982.

The Ringgit took another hit after it became an unwitty casualty when Singapore unexpectedly eased its tightly controlled monetary policy on Wednesday. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) had reduced the slope of its monetary policy band ahead of its scheduled review in April.

It joined a growing list of central banks around the world taking extraordinary steps in shoring up faltering economic growth as inflation slows.

Ringgit fell 0.4%

On Thursday, the Ringgit fell 0.4% to 3.6340 against the US dollar. The currency earlier touched 3.6375, the weakest level since April 2009.

Bank Negara Malaysia’s decision to hold the benchmark rate was predicted by all 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The policy stance is accommodative and appropriate given the developments in monetary and financial conditions, the central bank said in a statement.

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