Queues form as Singdollar hits record high against ringgit

People at a money changer yesterday at The Arcade in Raffles Place. At least one of the money changers sold all its stock of ringgit by 2pm.
People at a money changer yesterday at The Arcade in Raffles Place. At least one of the money changers sold all its stock of ringgit by 2pm.ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

News of a weakened ringgit on Monday night drew scores of people yesterday to The Arcade, the popular money changer hub in Raffles Place.

The exchange rate surged to a new high of RM3.173 to the Singdollar on Monday but it gradually decreased through yesterday. Money changers in Raffles Place sold the ringgit at rates of between RM3.145 and RM3.146 yesterday.

By lunchtime, counters with the best rates were drawing queues of up to two dozen customers.

Some customers were pleasantly surprised by the exchange rate. "We already planned to come down and it just happens to be a good rate," said lab technician Ann Tan, 26, who arrived earlier with a colleague to beat the lunch crowd. The pair exchanged a total of $4,000.

The cheaper rates also drew many Malaysian citizens, including 29-year-old Ted Nyon, who was buying ringgit in preparation for his monthly visit home.

The IT support engineer discovered it was an opportune time to exchange currency when he read about the weaker ringgit.

As the crowd grew due to a wave of office workers, some queues began intersecting as they snaked down the narrow corridor.

By 2pm yesterday, Mohamed Thahir Exchange, one of the money changers, had sold all its stock of ringgit. The owner, who declined to be named, said he had more customers buying the ringgit than usual.

Owner of Clifford Gems & Money Exchange, Mr Mohamed Rafeeq, said business was brisk but not as good as that on Tuesday, when sales were a 10th more than his usual figures.

He also predicted that the exchange rate could reach RM3.30 in a few weeks.

This sentiment was shared by many other money changer owners, who believe the trend of a weaker ringgit will likely persist amid Malaysia's lower export volume.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2017, with the headline 'Queues form as Singdollar hits record high against ringgit'. Print Edition | Subscribe