KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit is ”far from reflecting its fair value,” Bank Negara governor said, signalling a desire for the exchange rate to build on its recovery from a sharp selloff last year.
The ringgit is currently trading at its highest in over a year against the dollar, after a torrid 2016 when it ranked as one of Asia’s worst performing currencies.
The ringgit, like some other emerging market currencies, took a hit after Donald Trump won the US presidential race.
Investors feared a rush of capital out of many emerging economies on the view Trump’s policies could prompt a faster pace of US interest rate increases. “The ringgit is now priced more efficiently and increasingly more reflective of Malaysia’s strong fundamentals,” as the influence of external factors have waned, governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim said in a speech on Friday. A text of the speech was published by the central bank on Monday.
“Nevertheless, questions remain as to why the ringgit is far from reflecting its fair value,” he said. He also announced new measures to boost liquidity in the onshore ringgit market. These include extending the short-selling framework to include Malaysian Government Investment Issue, expand eligible collateral for banks’ liquidity operations, and introduce Bank Negara Interbank Bills (BNIBs) in ringgit and foreign currencies.
Last November, as the ringgit plunged to its weakest in more than 12 years in offshore markets, Bank Negara demanded that banks sign a commitment to cease trading the local currency on the offshore non-deliverable forward market.
Is Ringgit or MYR fairly valued?
There is a positive correlation between the Malaysian Ringgit and Brent (USD). Since Malaysia is a net oil exporter, positive movements in Brent are envisaged to translate into positive movements in the Ringgit (although this may not be the case at times – as shown below, there appears to be certain divergent zones).
The following simple regression analysis highlights a relatively low r-square (i.e the data are not close to the fitted regression line).
Based on the above regression results (strictly for illustrative purposes only), it appears that there is potentially ‘more upside’ in the Ringgit (since the forecast MYR is higher than the actual value given the current brent crude price).
The following desktop scenario analysis further highlights the potential undervaluation of the Ringgit. Given the variability of the currency and a low r-square (associated with the regression analysis), it is important to note that the 95% confidence interval is estimated to be between $3.499 and $4.483.
It is important to note that the movements in a currency are impacted by numerous macro and specific factors (not limiting to the one single factor, e.g Brent, etc).
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