KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — The ringgit opened easier against the US dollar today, extending last Friday’s losses amid rising fears on COVID-19 outbreak as well as a decline in global crude oil prices, said a dealer.

As at 9.02 am, the local currency fell to 4.2900/2970 against the greenback from last Friday’s closing of 4.2750/2800.

The country reported the highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases since the outbreak began on Jan 25 with 190 new cases on Sunday, according to a statement by the Health Ministry.

Total infections of the coronavirus topped 428 in the country, making Malaysia the worst-affected country by the pandemic in Southeast Asia.

The dealer said global equity and oil markets were hit by deepening uncertainties as investors weighed the economic impact from COVID-19 and Russia-Saudi Arabia crude oil price war which led to plunging price of the commodity.

Meanwhile, the ringgit traded higher against other major currencies.

It appreciated against the Singapore dollar to 3.0254/0314 from 3.0360/0406 and increased versus the Japanese yen to 4.0127/0204 from 4.0228/0279 last Friday’s close.

The local note rose vis-a-vis the British pound to 5.2904/3008 from 5.3822/3902 and improved against the euro to 4.7688/7783 from 4.7730/7790.


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