MYR
Malaysian Ringgit hovers near six-year low amid increasing political uncertainty, dollar rally, falling FX reservesReuters

The Malaysian currency had the first week of this month of gains and fetched a one-month high versus the dollar, but has been weak since the second week as the country's foreign exchange reserves are dwindling fast while the USD index is back near a multi-year high of 100.

The ringgit fell more than 2.2% since 8 April and traded at a two-week low of 3.7105 on Monday, which is being held on Tuesday as well.

The USD index rose to a near one-month high of 99.99 on Monday, which is just a shade away from the 12-year high of 100.40 touched last month.

A Bloomberg report on Tuesday showed that Malaysia is raising $2bn (£1.3bn) in the bond market as it seeks to defend the ringgit, which is not far away from last month's six-year low of 3.7381.

At the current levels, the ringgit is 14.8% down from the end of August 2014, since when the Malaysian currency started the southward move.

The oil price slide has affected the Malaysian economy adversely as it is a net exporter of the commodity while its peers in the region have benefited from the same being net importers of crude oil products.

Moreover, the government is seeing its hands weaker with the controversy surrounding 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad), the state-owned investment company whose debt has risen to much higher levels.

The government's effort to provide additional funding for the company whose recent deals with a little known company has only increased the criticism of the opponents, adding to the political uncertainty in the country.

Fitch Ratings has warned of lowering the sovereign rating of the country. The new goods and services tax practices came into force on 1 April is also deeply unpopular, reports show.

Malaysia expanded 6% in 2014 but the growth rate is expected to fall to 4.7% this year.

The market is now waiting for US retail sales data for March, due later in the day, and then the China gross domestic product data for the first quarter of this year, scheduled for Wednesday.

Analysts have forecast for a rebound in the retail sales to 1.1% on month in March from a 0.6% fall in February while China's annual GDP growth is forecast to have eased to a new multi-year low of 7% from the five-year low of 7.3% in the fourth quarter of 2014.