SGD rises to 17 month HIGH versus Malaysian RM

SINGAPORE 18th April 2019:

The Singapore dollar rose to a 17-month high against the Malaysian ringgit on Wednesday, as demand for the RM weakened following concerns the country's debt may be removed from a key global bond index.

According to Investing.com, SGD rose to an intraday high of RM3.0632 yesterday, the highest since SGD touched RM3.0724 on Nov 20th in 2017.

Bloomberg reported that for the year to date, the SGD has risen 0.74 per cent against the RM.

The global index provider FTSE Russell, said on Monday it could drop Malaysia from the FTSE World Government Bond Index (WGBI) because of concerns about liquidity & market accessibility.

This led to Morgan Stanley saying in a research note that Malaysia could see outflows of nearly US$8 billion if its bonds are downgraded when FTSE Russell carries out its review in September.

Phillip Capital Management SVP of Investments Dr Nazri Khan Adam Khan - said concerns over the potential downgrade had influenced investors' risk-appetite, and expects the ringgit downtrend to prolong until the end of this week, although the impact might be temporary.

“Our foreign fund (selling) has stabilised, so supposedly the outflow will stabilise soon. This concern (FTSE Russell) is just a knee-jerk reaction," he told Bernama.

“The government needs to address this concern of bond managers and boost their confidence."

In its first Fixed Income Country Classification Review, FTSE Russell placed Malaysia and China under its full watch list of fixed income markets that will be reviewed for potential changes to their market accessibility levels.

Malaysia, currently assigned a “2” and included in the WGBI since 2004, was being considered for a potential downgrade to “1”, making it ineligible for inclusion, FTSE Russell said.

FTSE Russell said it would continue to engage with local regulators and market participants in Malaysia and China to assess the potential changes to a country’s classification. The position of Malaysia and China would be reassessed in September, with any exclusion or inclusion changes taking place after that date.


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