The great rush for ringgit

The Malaysian ringgit has tumbled to its lowest level against the Singapore dollar in recent history, triggering a surge in customers at money changers yesterday.

Some money changers have already run out of ringgit, as customers stock up on the currency just in time for some Chinese New Year shopping across the Causeway.

A check by MyPaper yesterday found that money changers were offering a rate of RM2.57 for every S$1. This is better than the usual rate of RM2.52 that public-relations executive Hazel Joanne gets when she changes money to give to her parents, who live in Johor Baru.

"If this good rate continues, I'll be able to keep them comfortable without as much of a dent to my pocket," she said.

Ms Sarah Lim, a senior retail-management lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic, said the favourable exchange rates would entice more Singapore residents to do their New Year shopping in Malaysia.

She explained: "The prices of services and merchandise are going to be much lower, making them more attractive and worthwhile."

CIMB economist Song Seng Wun said the weak ringgit can be attributed to a firmer US dollar, and the fact that the Sing dollar did not weaken as much.

He added that if the strong US dollar continues, the ringgit is likely to decline further.


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