Malaysia central bank says it's intervening in currency market as ringgit slide deepens

The Malaysian flag is displayed on the facade of Bank Negara Malaysia.
The Malaysian flag is displayed on the facade of Bank Negara Malaysia.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

KUALA LUMPUR (BLOOMBERG) - Malaysia's central bank said it's intervening in the currency market as policy makers across the region contend with exchange-rate volatility.

Fears of capital controls are "baseless" and it's too damaging and risky to have such measures, Bank Negara Malaysia Assistant Governor Adnan Zaylani told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Friday (Nov 18).

He said "yes" when asked whether the central bank was currently intervening in the foreign-exchange market.

The ringgit battled in trading on Friday, dropping to as low as 4.4195 per US dollar at 10:09am, before clawing back up to 4.3963 at noon. At 2:45pm, it was trading at 4.4110, 0.78 per cent lower than its close on Thursday.

Against the Singapore dollar, which also fell against the surging US currency, the ringgit was trading at 3.0927, up 0.4 per cent from the previous day's 52-week close of 3.1051.

The US dollar extended its advance after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled an interest-rate hike could be imminent. The Korean won was the biggest decliner in Asia, followed by Singapore's dollar.

In a bid to limit speculative trading on the ringgit, Bank Negara has urged banks to disregard the offshore rates from the non-deliverable forward (NDF) markets and use the central bank's officially quoted onshore rates instead. Bank Negara has also told local banks to not quote prices on the ringgit based on the prevailing NDF rate.

It has also asked foreign banks to stop NDF-related transactions.

With additional information from the Straits Times