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KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit closed lower against the US dollar as investors remained cautious regarding the United States (US) debt ceiling vote later today.

Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist and social finance head Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the main issue is still the same, the US debt ceiling, and given that some Republican congress members seem not agreeable to the current deal, the risk of a delay in the decision-making is something that markets cannot completely rule out.

At 6 pm, the local note was weaker at 4.6105/6155 against the US dollar from Tuesday’s close of 4.6005/6045.

Mohd Afzanizam said following this issue, foreign exchange market participants have become defensive, leading to higher demand for the US dollar.

“So the voting tonight will be a closely watched event as this will determine whether the stalemate can be resolved amicably,” he told Bernama.

He believes the US dollar/ringgit is likely to stick at the RM4.60 level as there is a lack of conviction on the US debt limit impasse.

At today’s close, the ringgit was mostly higher against a basket of major currencies.

It rose vis-a-vis the British pound to 5.6986/7048 from 5.7129/7179 at the close on Tuesday, increased against the euro at 4.9208/9261 from 4.9327/9369 but fell against the Japanese yen to 3.2951/2989 from 3.2821/2852 yesterday.

At the same time, the local note was traded mostly lower against other ASEAN currencies.

It depreciated versus the Indonesian rupiah to 307.4/307.9 from yesterday’s close of 306.9/307.4, slipped vis-a-vis the Thai baht to 13.2440/2641 from 13.2251/2427, and slid against the Philippines’ peso to 8.20/8.22 from 8.16/8.17 previously.

However, the ringgit was flat at 3.4036/4075 against the Singapore dollar from 3.4035/4070 previously. - Bernama