KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit retreated versus the US dollar on Tuesday on technical correction after three consecutive days of gains, amid mixed overnight greenback performance. Concerns over lockdowns and slower COVID-19 vaccine rollout weighed on the local currency, dealers said. At 6 pm, the local currency stood at 4.0140/0200 versus the greenback from Monday's close of 4.0040/0090. Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the COVID-19 spectre had returned with the United Kingdom reimposing lockdown measures while the new coronavirus variant had reached to US shores, suggesting a possible similar response there. "This would mean the anticipated economic recovery remains highly fragile as the pandemic will continue to have a significant impact on economic activities. "Therefore, we have seen some correction in the ringgit against US dollar today which is very much expected, ” he told Bernama. Meanwhile, Axi chief global market strategist Stephen Innes said it was a profit-taking day for the ringgit as the energy sector fell under pressure as the heavy hand of COVID-19 weighed on oil prices today. He noted that there were also some pre-Georgia Senate runoff jitters that put pressure on global risk sentiment and negatively impacted ringgit trading today. "However, given that we are still within an earshot of the critical 4.0 level, it suggests optimism remains favourable for an eventual clean breakthrough of that level once vaccines become more widely distributed, ” he added. The ringgit was traded mostly lower against other major currencies except the pound sterling. It fell against the Singapore dollar to 3.0425/0482 from 3.0402/0450 on Monday, depreciated vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.9032/9094 from 3.8968/0021 and slipped versus the euro to 4.9256/9341 from 4.9213/9291. But the local note strengthened against the British pound to 5.4474/4572 from 5.4743/4827 yesterday. - Bernama
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