Ringgit Forwards Strengthen for Third Day on Fed Stimulus Pledge

Malaysian ringgit forwards gained for a third day after the Federal Reserve said it would maintain stimulus, bolstering demand for emerging-market assets. Government bonds retreated.

The central bank needs to see further gains in the U.S. labor market before it will consider reducing its $85 billion a month of asset purchases, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in Washington yesterday. Malaysia’s economy will probably grow 5 percent to 6 percent in 2013, after expanding 5.6 percent last year, Bank Negara Malaysia forecast in its annual report released yesterday.

“The Fed is going to continue with its very easy policy and that’s positive,” said Jonathan Cavenagh, a currency strategist in Singapore at Westpac Banking Corp. “Bank Negara’s forecasts were still painting a fairly positive outlook.”

Twelve-month non-deliverable forwards climbed 0.1 percent to 3.1809 per dollar as of 4:16 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The contracts to fix an exchange rate in a year’s time were at a 1.9 percent discount to the spot rate, which advanced 0.1 percent to 3.1198. Non-deliverable forwards are settled in dollars.

One-month implied volatility in the ringgit, a measure of expected moves in exchange rates used to price options, fell 24 basis points, or 0.24 percentage point, to 7.05 percent.

Malaysian consumer prices increased 1.5 percent in February from a year earlier, after rising 1.3 percent the previous month, official figures showed yesterday.

The yield on the 3.26 percent sovereign bonds due March 2018 rose one basis point to 3.24 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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