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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        8  February 2011

Ringgit Expected To Hit 3.00 Against US Dollar By Q1

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The Malaysian ringgit, which touched a new 13-year high of 3.0345 in intra-day trade Monday, is expected to hit 3.00 against the dollar by the first quarter. There is speculation that Asian central banks may raise interest rates to curb inflationary pressure and the continued commercial demand for the local currency.

"We expect the ringgit will eventually reach 3.00 against the dollar in the next few weeks, probably by the first quarter of this year. The next level that we expect it to hit will be RM3.025," a currency trader said in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

Indonesia on Monday raised interest rate by 25 basis points as part of its effort to tackle inflationary pressure.

According to UOB Economic Treasury Research, the Philippines' and South Korea's central banks will likely announce their rate decisions on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

The Philippines is expected to keep rates steady at four percent while South Korea could raise rates by 25 basis points to three percent, it said in its research note here Monday.

Since the start of this year, the ringgit has appreciated by 1.3 percent and is reported to be third best performer in Asia after the Taiwan dollar and the South Korean won.

Another dealer, meanwhile said the prolonged crisis in Egypt will continue to give impact to the dollar as the country is seen as an ally to the US.

At close on Monday, the ringgit ended trade at 3.0360/0390 against the dollar.

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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