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Ringgit set to appreciate to 2.95 in Q4 [08-07-2011]  
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The ringgit is expected to appreciate to 2.95 against the US dollar in the fourth quarter of this year from 3.00 now and rise further to 2.88 by the first quarter of next year owing to risk aversion to the dollar, an economist said yesterday.

Standard Chartered Bank chief investment strategist Steve Brice said as the market was taking risk aversion positions, investors were now turning away from risky assets like the dollar, making gold more attractive as a long-term commodity.

Looking ahead, he said the ringgit would moderate to 2.95 in the second quarter of 2012.

The gold price is expected to increase to US$1,650 (RM4,966) an ounce by next year compared with US$1,460 (RM4,394) this year and further strengthen to US$2,100 (RM6,321) in 2014, he told the media on StanChart's second half investment 2011 outlook.

Brice said the gross domestic product was expected to expand by 5.1 per cent this year and 6 per cent in 2012.

"The growth will be cushioned by a healthy fiscal account despite uncertainties in the global outlook," he said.

He said Malaysia would stand to benefit from positive crude palm oil (CPO) prices despite bearishness in other agricultural commodity prices and projected prices, averaging RM3,600 a tonne this year, to move up to RM3,700 a tonne next year.

"Although the CPO demand from China was down, it is expected to pick up in the third and fourth quarters of this year," he added.

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