Najib will hold a briefing on economic developments and the country’s financial position on Jan. 20, according to a Finance Ministry statement this week. The ringgit has fallen 10.4 percent in the past six months, the worst performance in Asia after the yen, as the slump in Brent crude threatens to hurt government efforts to cut the fiscal deficit in the oil-exporting nation. The yield premium on Malaysia’s debt over U.S. bonds also supported demand.
The yield on Malaysia’s 2024 sovereign notes declined 22 basis points, or 0.22 percentage point, to 3.93 percent from Jan. 9 in Kuala Lumpur, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the lowest level since Dec. 4. Similar-maturity U.S. debt offers 1.72 percent.
The ringgit was steady today and gained 0.1 percent for the week to 3.5587 a dollar in Kuala Lumpur, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The currency fell to 3.6045 on Jan. 14, the lowest level since April 2009. The U.S. currency may face selling pressure at 3.60, Wong said.
Oil-related industries account for a third of Malaysian state revenue and the 58 percent slump in Brent from its peak in June is threatening to crimp earnings. The government, which has run abudget deficit since 1998, is seeking to trim the gap to 3 percent of gross domestic product this year from 3.5 percent.
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