Ringgit Drops on Concern Malaysia’s Economic Growth Is Slowing

Malaysia’s ringgit fell to a seven- week low on concern growth in Southeast Asia’s third-biggest economy is slowing.

Industrial output rose 0.2 percent in January from a year earlier after increasing 2.9 percent in December, official data showed this week. Consumer prices advanced 2.3 percent in February from a year earlier, the slowest pace since December 2010, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before figures due on March 21.

“There will be an economic slowdown given the global environment,” said Hasdi Mamat, a foreign-exchange trader at Bank Muamalat in Kuala Lumpur. “It’s a question of how sharp the slowdown will be to justify a rate cut. Fundamentally, this will weigh on the currency market.”

The ringgit declined 0.4 percent to 3.0665 per dollar as of 9:02 a.m. in Kuala Lumpur, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It touched 3.0710, the weakest level since Jan. 26.

One-month implied volatility, a measure of exchange-rate swings used to price options, rose 39 basis points, or 0.39 percentage point, to 8.29 percent.

Bank Negara Malaysia, which held its benchmark rate unchanged at 3 percent on March 9, is scheduled to meet next on May 11.

Five-year government bonds fell yesterday. The yield on the 4.262 percent notes due September 2016 rose two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 3.32 percent, according to Bursa Malaysia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Liau Y-Sing in Kuala Lumpur at yliau@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sandy Hendry in Hong Kong at shendry@bloomberg.net.

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