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Ringgit retreats with stocks as commodity drop dents sentiment
[KUALA LUMPUR] The ringgit fell for a second day and Malaysian stocks snapped a three-day gain as renewed weakness in Brent crude prices underscored the vulnerability of the oil-exporting nation to gyrations in commodities.
The currency and South Korea's won led losses in emerging markets as Brent slumped more than 2 per cent to below US$40 a barrel overnight in New York after breaching that level last week for the first time since December. The move lower in raw materials was enough to spur a retreat in developing-nation shares from the year's high after sliding to a more than six-year low in January.
"Declining oil prices and dollar strength are weighing on the ringgit," said Christopher Wong, a Singapore-based senior foreign-exchange analyst at Malayan Banking Bhd.
"The fall could be a pause from the recent rally and ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting."
The ringgit dropped 0.4 per cent to 4.1193 a US dollar as of 9:38 am in Kuala Lumpur, trimming the month's gain to 2 per cent, according to data from local banks compiled by Bloomberg. It climbed to 4.0765 on March 7, the strongest since August. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index declined 0.2 per cent from Monday's highest close since October.
The ringgit is likely to consolidate around 4.10-4.15 a US dollar over the next few days, said Wong. He predicts the currency will trade at 4.10 by the end of March and 4.25 by June 30.