Ringgit slips at close as Sino-US friction grows

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit ended lower against the US dollar in line with its peers in other emerging markets on the back of rising tension between Washington and Beijing.

As at 6pm, the local note was quoted at 4.3610/3690 against the greenback compared with yesterday’s close of 4.3400/3480.

An analyst said the renewed tension would worsen trade relations between the nations as the current Covid-19 situation had left Malaysia as well as other emerging markets grappling with uncertainty.

“Malaysia is in a vulnerable position if the tension continues as the economy faced significant impact when the crisis first started. Coupled with the ongoing global pandemic as well as volatile oil prices, the ringgit could weaken further,“ she cautioned.

Bloomberg reported that China has reiterated its pledge to implement the first phase of the trade deal with the United States despite Covid-19 setbacks as tensions escalate between the world’s two biggest economies.

“We will work with the US to implement the phase one China-US economic and trade agreement.

“China will continue to boost economic and trade cooperation with other countries to deliver mutual benefits,” said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the annual gathering of lawmakers in Beijing today.

This came after US President Donald Trump, in a series of tweets yesterday, suggested that China’s President Xi Jinping was behind a “disinformation and propaganda” attack on the United States and Europe, putting the trade deal signed in mid January at risk.

Against a basket of benchmark currencies, the ringgit traded mostly lower.

The local currency inched up against the Singapore dollar to 3.0638/0698 from 3.0650/0713 yesterday, but slipped versus the Japanese yen to 4.0567/0653 from 4.0256/0341.

The ringgit was flat against the euro at 4.7562/7667 and depreciated against the British pound to 5.3078/3118 from 5.3061/3180 previously. – Bernama