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Ringgit falls amid global stock selloff on China growth outlook

Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - 10:55
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Malaysia's ringgit fell the most in a week amid a global selloff in equities and as energy prices slumped on signs China's economy is slowing.

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia's ringgit fell the most in a week amid a global selloff in equities and as energy prices slumped on signs China's economy is slowing.

The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index of stocks dropped more than one per cent Wednesday, raising concern more foreign investors will exit after dumping about US$3 billion in shares this year. Brent crude tumbled 8.5 per cent Tuesday in its biggest one-day slide since 2011 before data forecast to show US stockpiles increased. The price of the commodity has halved in the past year, cutting Malaysia's export earnings and contributing to a 24 per cent slump in the ringgit. A report on Tuesday showed China's official factory gauge fell to a three-year low last month.

An overnight drop in emerging-market currencies and a retreat in Brent "should see Asia falling back in line with the rest of the world where risk appetite remains impaired," said Nizam Idris, the Singapore-based head of foreign-exchange and fixed-income strategy at Macquarie Bank Ltd.

"Oil has been volatile." The ringgit weakened 1.4 per cent to 4.2227 a dollar as of 10:08 am in Kuala Lumpur, the steepest decline in Asia, according to prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg. It reached a 17-year low of 4.2990 on Aug 26.

The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index was poised for its biggest drop in more than a week, with energy services company SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd. sinking 2.2 per cent. Brent crude lost a further 1.7 per cent.

Government bonds fell, with the 10-year yield rising five basis points to 4.28 per cent after dropping 17 basis points on Tuesday, Bursa Malaysia prices show.

BLOOMBERG