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    Jul 28, 2015

    Ringgit hits 17-year low, Aussie dollar below SGD

    MALAYSIA'S ringgit hit a 17-year low yesterday, while the Australian dollar fell below the Singapore dollar for the first time since 2009.

    The ringgit's fall comes as a global slump in commodity prices adds to concerns over sluggish exports, while investors braced themselves for a United States Federal Reserve meeting that might take another step toward lifting interest rates.

    The ringgit eased 0.1 per cent to 3.8110 per US dollar, its weakest since September 1998.

    The ringgit pared losses again as Malaysia's central bank has been spotted intervening to keep the worst-performing Asian currency firmer than 3.8100 per US dollar, traders said. The currency was pegged at 3.8 between 1998 and 2005.

    Malaysia's international reserves fell to US$100.5 billion (S$137.6 billion) as of July 15, from US$105.5 billion as of June 30, central-bank data showed on July 23.

    Meanwhile, the Australian dollar weakened below parity against the Singapore dollar yesterday morning, for the first time since it last closed below that level in March 2009 during the global financial crisis.

    One Australian dollar could buy $0.9981 Singapore dollars as at 11.20am yesterday.

    The once-mighty Aussie dollar has been battered by slowing global demand for the country's commodities exports and a string of disappointing economic data in recent months.

    The falling Australian dolllar could see lower prices for Singapore's imports from Down Under, although other factors like weather conditions affecting supply, labour costs and demand could hold back or limit declines.