Ringgit Declines Most Since December as U.S. Data Boost Dollar

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Malaysia’s ringgit slumped the most since December as data showing strength in the U.S. economy boosted demand for the dollar.

U.S. factory orders rose in March by the most since July, a report showed Monday, while data May 8 is likely to show hiring picked up in April, fueling speculation a winter slowdown in the world’s largest economy may have been short lived. Overseas sales for Malaysia probably fell for a third month in March, according to the median estimate of analysts in a Bloomberg survey before official figures due on May 7.

The ringgit weakened 1.3 percent, the most since Dec. 1, to 3.6107 a dollar in Kuala Lumpur, prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg show. Malaysian financial markets were shut on May 1 and 4 for public holidays. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the greenback versus 10 major currencies, has gained 0.9 percent in the past four days.

The ringgit’s drop “reflects the broader dollar trend,” said Sim Moh Siong, a foreign-exchange strategist at Bank of Singapore Ltd. “There are certain expectations for the U.S. non-farm payrolls to show a rebound.”

U.S. employers probably added 230,000 jobs in April following a 126,000 gain in March that was the smallest since the end of 2013, a Bloomberg survey shows.

Malaysia’s exports are forecast to have fallen 4.2 percent in March from a year earlier, according to a Bloomberg survey. The central bank will keep the benchmark rate at 3.25 percent at a May 7 review, according to 19 of 20 economists in a separate survey. One sees a cut to 3 percent.

Government bonds were little changed, with the yield on the 10-year notes steady at 3.85 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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