The ringgit closed higher against the US dollar and other major currencies today, supported by rising oil prices, an economist said.

At 6pm, the local note rose to 4.6850/6880 against the US dollar from last Friday’s close of 4.6865/6920.

As of 6.13pm, Brent crude oil increased slightly by 0.44 per cent to US$93.68 (RM438) per barrel, the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained 0.33 per cent to US$90.33 per barrel.

SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes said that although the US Federal Reserve (Fed) was trying to slow US consumer demand on Friday, Russia announced a ban on gasoline and diesel exports, which offered support to oil prices.

“Despite property market concerns in China and high US yields, the ringgit fared better than expected, likely picking up some residual support from high oil prices.

“But for how long remains the question with the US dollar still very much in the driver’s seat these days,” he told Bernama.

Meanwhile, Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist and social finance head Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the ringgit was stable at around RM4.68 per US dollar amid the economic uncertainties.

“The economic uncertainties remain loom large as the US Congress is supposed to agree on the spending bill by the end of September, which otherwise could result in a government shutdown. If materialised, further uncertainties would be on the duration of the shutdown and how it may impact the US economy.

“In the process, some government staff would be furloughed, which means they cannot come to work, especially for the non-essential services. In a nutshell, the balance of risks to growth is skewed to the downside. It remains to be seen whether this event could tilt the balance in respect to monetary policy stance by the US Fed,” he said.

Mohd Afzanizam said that the ringgit’s performance against the greenback could remain in a narrow range in the immediate terms.

Meanwhile, the ringgit traded higher against a basket of major currencies.

It appreciated against the Japanese yen to 3.1523/1546 from 3.1593/1632 at last Friday’s close, increased against the euro to 4.9825/9857 from 4.9860/9918 and higher against the British pound to 5.7274/7311 from 5.7372/7439 previously.

The local note traded higher against other Asian currencies, except against the Philippine peso, which was flat at 8.25/8.26.

It improved vis-à-vis the Singapore dollar to 3.4295/4319 from 3.4313/4359 at last Friday’s close and rose against the Thai baht to 12.9642/9772 from 13.0119/0322 previously and marginally higher against Indonesian rupiah to 304.1/304.5 from 304.7/305.3 previously.