The ringgit dropped to a three-year low ahead of data that may signal the US recovery is gaining traction, bolstering the case for policymakers to pare stimulus that has fuelled inflows to emerging market assets.
Reports this week may show retail sales, manufacturing and housing starts increased last month in the world’s largest economy, according to Bloomberg surveys. Four Federal Reserve officials indicated greater willingness last week to begin tapering the central bank’s bond-buying programme.
Fitch Ratings cut Malaysia’s credit outlook in July, citing concerns over the country’s public finances.
“The general expectation is that these US numbers are going to be quite strong,” said Saktiandi Supaat, head of foreign exchange research at Malayan Banking Bhd in Singapore. “The ringgit tends to move more significantly lately because of domestic factors such as the fiscal situation.”
The ringgit depreciated 0.3% to 3.2595 per dollar as of 4.27pm in Kuala Lumpur, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It touched 3.2613, the weakest level since July 1, 2010.
The one-month implied volatility, a measure of expected moves in the exchange rate used to price options, climbed six basis points to 7.89%, halting an eight-day losing streak.
Malaysia’s five-year government bonds were little-changed.
The yield on the 3.26% notes due March 2018 held at 3.50%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The rate on 10-year securities fell by two basis points to 3.86%, the lowest level this month.