Ringgit Halts Four-Day Loss as Oil-Price Rise Eases Finance Woes

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Malaysia’s ringgit halted a four-day decline after crude prices posted the biggest gain in three weeks overnight, easing concern that the oil-exporting nation’s finances will deteriorate.

Brent has rebounded 22 percent since the end of March, helping the ringgit strengthen 3 percent. A government report Friday may show Malaysia’s first-quarter current-account surplus held at the lowest since 2013 as oil retreated 51 percent in the nine months through March. A gauge of the dollar fell for a second day before retail sales data that may help determine the timing of U.S. rate increases.

“The higher crude oil price is positive for the ringgit,” said Sim Moh Siong, a foreign-exchange strategist at Bank of Singapore Ltd. “The broad dollar was also on the back foot overnight ahead of the U.S. retail sales data.”

The ringgit advanced 0.5 percent to 3.5968 a dollar in Kuala Lumpur, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s the steepest gain in a week.

The surplus in Malaysia’s broadest measure of trade was probably 6.1 billion ringgit ($1.7 billion) in the three months through March, according to a Bloomberg survey. That would match the previous quarter’s figure. Economic growth for the same period slowed to 5.4 percent from 5.8 percent, separate data may show.

Malaysia’s government bonds were little changed after figures Tuesday showed overseas investors boosted holdings of the debt to a record. Global funds bought a net 11 billion ringgit of the securities in April from a month earlier, the biggest inflow since at least 2006 and bringing the holdings to 168 billion ringgit, according to central bank data.

The five-year yield was at 3.6 percent, after rising one basis point on Tuesday.