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PETALING JAYA: The ringgit has begun weakening against more currencies in the past weeks, in addition to the widely-reported depreciation against the US dollar and Singapore dollar.
The trend is quite worrying, according to a market observer, considering that some of these currencies belong to Malaysia’s biggest import destinations.
“The country’s import bill may spike, and with Malaysia being highly dependent on food imports, this could further contribute to food inflation,” he told StarBiz.
Malaysia’s food import bill for 2021 was at RM63.6bil.
Meanwhile, food inflation in June, was recorded at 6.1% compared with the headline inflation of 3.4%.
While it is impossible to predict the movement of the currency, there are expectations that the ringgit may face downward pressure as more countries experience a pick-up in economic growth, according to economists.
Between July 15 and Aug 15, the ringgit has weakened against almost all major regional and global currencies.
Food inflation in June, was recorded at 6.1% compared with the headline inflation of 3.4%.,
Based on Bloomberg data, the ringgit declined by 4.16% against the Japanese yen, Thai baht (3.34%), South Korean won (2.05%)
and Indonesian rupiah (1.92%).
After weakening significantly since March, the ringgit fell further by 1.74% against the Singapore dollar in the July 15 to Aug 15 period.
Against the Philippine peso, it fell by 1.24%, while it weakened marginally by 0.37% and 0.07% against the Hong Kong dollar and the Taiwanese dollar respectively.
The ringgit was flattish against the Chinese yuan, slipping by 0.02% in the one-month period.
The ringgit dropped by 1.91% against the British pound sterling, the euro (1.01%) and the Australian dollar (3.61%).
Against the US dollar, the ringgit fell further by 0.22% after weakening significantly since March.
It is noteworthy that some of the currencies that have strengthened against the ringgit belong to Malaysia’s major import sources.
They include Singapore, the United States, Taiwan, Japan and Europe.
Malaysia University of Science and Technology economics professor Geoffrey Williams said the ringgit’s value is underpinned by solid fundamentals, attractive opportunities for short-term and long-term foreign investors and a “better look and feel” for the economy as a whole.