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Ringgit Forwards Gain as U.S. Budget Deal Boosts Risk Appetite

Malaysian ringgit forwards touched a seven-week high after the U.S. budget agreement eased the risk of a slowdown in the world’s largest economy, bolstering demand for emerging-market assets. Government bonds fell.

The House of Representatives approved legislation on Jan. 1 to head off $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index of shares gained 0.3 percent today after rallying 1.1 percent yesterday. Total loans given out in the Malaysian banking system rose 16.2 percent in November from a year earlier, according to a Dec. 28 central bank report.

“The general risk-on tone is helping,” said Jonathan Cavenagh, a strategist at Westpac Banking Corp. in Singapore. “The U.S. fiscal cliff is less of an issue to markets, at least in the near term.”

Twelve-month non-deliverable forwards climbed 0.1 percent to 3.0871 per dollar as of 4:17 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur after advancing 0.8 percent yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. They touched 3.0823 earlier, the strongest level since Nov. 12. The contracts to buy or sell the ringgit in a year traded at a 1.7 percent discount to the spot rate. Non-deliverable forwards are settled in dollars.

The ringgit appreciated 0.1 percent to 3.0341 per dollar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency touched 3.0296, the highest level since Oct. 18. One-month implied volatility, a measure of expected exchange-rate swings used to price options, held at 4.97 percent.

The yield on the 3.314 percent sovereign bonds maturing in October 2017 rose one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 3.21 percent, according to Bursa Malaysia.

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