Tengku Zafrul says no need to peg ringgit to US dollar

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Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz says if the ringgit is pegged to the US dollar, Malaysia’s overnight policy rate would have to follow that of the US Fed. – Facebook pic, August 11, 2022.

THE government has no plans to peg the ringgit to the US dollar, as such a move is fraught with risk and a large trade-off, said Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said.

He said a peg would not be the best move for the economy as it would require Malaysia to follow the monetary policy of the country to which the ringgit is pegged.

“For example, if the ringgit is pegged to the US dollar, Malaysia’s overnight policy rate would have to follow that of the US Fed, which will raise its interest rate by 325 basis points, or 3.25% overall in 2022, although Malaysia’s economic recovery and inflation levels are different than that of the US.

“Malaysia would face constraints in setting the monetary policy and Malaysians would have to bear the high financing cost although the economic situation here is different from that of the United States,” the finance minister told the Dewan Negara today.

He said the strength of a currency depends on strong economic fundamentals, noting that Malaysia has solid fundamentals, supported by strong demand domestically and overseas, as well as rising commodity prices.




This was reflected in first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5%, he said, with an expected better performance in the second quarter.

Tengku Zafrul said if the currency was pegged, it would have to be accompanied by capital controls to prevent capital outflows, and that would affect foreign investor confidence.

A flexible ringgit exchange rate is important to balance the need to absorb external shocks and support the Malaysian economy amid global uncertainty, he added.

“Hence, the government through Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) will ensure that financial markets are stable and efficient, and we will take measures to ensure sufficient liquidity and resilience to prevent destabilisation in the ringgit’s value.

“BNM will continue to monitor it to ensure an orderly forex market and prevent volatile moves in the ringgit,” he said, adding that the central bank is ready to use policy instruments in the forex market to prevent ringgit volatility. – Bernama, August 11, 2022.


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