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Ringgit Nears 11-Week High as Data Signal U.S. Economy Improving

Malaysia’s ringgit rose, approaching an 11-week high, as data suggesting an improvement in the U.S. economy spurred demand for emerging-market assets.

The currency gained for the first time in three days after reports on Jan. 4 showed U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose by more- than-estimated in December, while service industries expanded at the fastest pace in 10 months. Malaysian exports increased 2.9 percent in November, after declining 3.2 percent in October, according to a Bloomberg survey before figures due Jan. 9.

“The nonfarm payroll numbers were quite positive,” said Saktiandi Supaat, the head of foreign-exchange research at Malayan Banking Bhd. in Singapore. “The services numbers were a bit of a surprise so there was a twin effect.”

The ringgit climbed 0.4 percent to 3.0403 per dollar as of 9:13 a.m. in Kuala Lumpur, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It touched 3.0385 earlier, near the 3.0296 level reached on Jan. 3, which was the strongest since Oct. 18. One- month implied volatility, a measure of expected moves in exchange rates used to price options, fell three basis points to 5.13 percent.

Government bonds declined. The yield on the 3.314 percent notes due October 2017 rose one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 3.24 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: James Regan at jregan19@bloomberg.net.

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