Malaysia moves to help sliding ringgit
MALAYSIA’S central bank is intervening in markets to support the beleaguered ringgit as regional authorities grapple with a surging dollar.
Bank Negara Malaysia Assistant Governor Adnan Zaylani replied “Yes” when asked by reporters whether the central back was intervening in the foreign-exchange market, Bloomberg News reported.
The ringgit has weakened by around 5 percent since the surprise presidential election victory by US billionaire Donald Trump.
Mr Trump’s promises to ramp up spending on infrastructure and cut taxes has led to warnings of a surge in inflation.
That could force the policy setting US Federal Reserve to hike interest rates to cap prices, which has led to a rush back into the dollar.
But Mr Adnan poured water on the possibility that Malaysia could implement capital controls to shield the ringgit, calling speculation over such measures “baseless” and saying they would ultimately be damaging.
Speculation of such controls rose after the bank issued a statement earlier this week that was widely interpreted as seeking to curb trading of ringgit futures.
The ringgit had already been among Asia’s worst-performing currencies over the past two years amid the oil price slump and political frictions stemming from a corruption scandal linked to Prime Minister Najib Razak.
It has been widely speculated that the central bank has regularly intervened on behalf of the ringgit over that span, eroding its international reserves. –