Ringgit Drops to Six-Week Low on GDP Concern Amid Risk Aversion

  • Malaysia's economic growth slowest since 2013 in third quarter
  • Terror attacks in Paris drive investors toward safe assets

The ringgit fell to a six-week low amid risk aversion after the Paris terror attacks and concern Malaysia’s economy will keep slowing.

Gross domestic product increased the least in more than two years last quarter, a report showed on Friday, and Credit Suisse Group AG sees a further moderation as the sliding ringgit and a goods and services tax hurt consumption. Brent crude dropped the most in eight months last week, adding to the woes of the net oil exporter.

“Risk aversion, growth concerns from last week’s gross domestic product data and a fall in oil prices are reasons for the ringgit weakness,” said Saktiandi Supaat, head of foreign-exchange research at Malayan Banking Bhd. in Singapore. “The Paris attack damps market risk appetite.”

The ringgit declined 0.2 percent to 4.3837 a dollar in Kuala Lumpur, according to prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg. It dropped to 4.4005 earlier, the weakest level since Oct. 5, and has lost 1.9 percent this month. The currency’s 20 percent slide in 2015 is the worst among emerging markets after Brazil’s real and Colombia’s peso.

Stock Outflows

Overseas investors sold a net 714 million ringgit ($163 million) of Malaysian shares last week, according to a report from MIDF Amanah Investment Bank released Monday. That took outflows this year to 18.2 billion ringgit, compared with 6.9 billion ringgit for the whole of 2014.

Malaysia’s economy expanded 4.7 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the least since the three months through June 2013. The domestic economy is expected to remain resilient, Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz told reporters after the GDP data were released. The ringgit remains “significantly undervalued” and risks to growth are unlikely to materialize as exports are still strong, she said in an interview in Kuwait last week. Overseas sales rose in each of the four months through September.

Government bonds fell, pushing the yield on notes due October 2020 up five basis points to 3.83 percent, according to prices from Bursa Malaysia. The 10-year yield rose one basis point to 4.35 percent.

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