KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit opened broadly higher against the US dollar this morning as risk appetite for the local currency strengthened following the positive revision of Malaysia’s long-term sovereign credit ratings outlook by S&P Global Ratings (S&P).
At 9 am, the local currency rose to 4.3960/4000 against the greenback from 4.4030/4060 at 6 pm on Monday.
"This improvement (the positive revision) surely strengthened investors’ sentiment and confidence in Malaysia’s economy,” an *** yst told Bernama.
In its latest report on Malaysia, S&P foresees the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 6.1 per cent in 2022 and 5.0 per cent in 2023.
The steady growth momentum is supported by high commodity prices, strong exports and domestic demand with the reopening of the economy.
Additionally, S&P affirmed the ‘A-‘ rating for long-term and ‘A-2’ for short-term foreign currency sovereign credit ratings, as well as Malaysia’s ‘A’ rating for long-term and ‘A-1’ for short-term local currency ratings.
"The stable outlook reflects our expectation that Malaysia’s steady growth momentum and strong external position will remain in place over the next two years.
"At the same time, we anticipate that the policymaking environment will be supportive of restoring fiscal settings to a firmer footing,’’ the rating agency said in a statement.
Yesterday, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz was reported as saying that the ‘stable’ rating outlook was made as S&P believes the country is on a strong economic recovery path.
He also said the GDP forecast of 6.1 per cent is in line with the government's expectation of higher growth over the subsequent quarters and in line with the higher end of Bank Negara Malaysia’s official estimate of 5.3-6.3 per cent.
In a note today, MIDF Investment said the 2022 forecast and S&P’s optimistic view were in line with its projected outlook, where it expects Malaysia’s economic growth to average at 6.0 per cent on the back of a strong external sector, elevated commodity prices and robust domestic demand.
"Even though there is the risk of a spike in food inflation, the overall price pressure will remain stable amidst the current capped retail fuel prices for RON95 and diesel.
"As long as the average headline inflation does not surpass 3.0 per cent year-on-year, we believe domestic spending will remain on an upward trajectory for this year and 2023,” it said.
Meanwhile, the ringgit was traded firmer against a basket of major currencies.
It appreciated versus the Singapore dollar to 3.1726/1760 from Monday’s close of 3.1779/1805, and rose against the Japanese yen to 3.2450/2482 from 3.2564/2589 yesterday.
The local currency also strengthened against the British pound to 5.3952/4001 from 5.4064/4101 and advanced vis-a-vis the euro to 4.6501/6543 from 4.6535/6567 yesterday. - Bernama