The ringgit closed higher versus the US dollar on the second trading day of 2023, as risk sentiments improved due to optimism over China’s reopening.

The local currency breached the 4.40 formidable level to end the day at 4.3960/4010 versus the greenback, compared to Tuesday’s close of 4.4050/4084.

Nonetheless, SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes told Bernama that the ringgit will need to see a significant improvement in China’s economic data to have any chance of hitting RM4.25 in the first quarter.

China may have rapidly relaxed its zero-Covid-19 policy, but the move also caused worries over the possible spread of Covid-19 with new variants emerging in the country.

A trader said investors are keeping an eye out for a virtual meeting between the World Health Organisation and Chinese scientists, as the former had invited the latter to present data on Covid-19 variants circulating in the country.

Investors are also looking out for the United States Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes tonight, while taking into account the ongoing global recessionary concerns which have resulted in energy prices slumping.

Meanwhile, the ringgit was traded mostly lower against a basket of major currencies.

It fell against the British pound to 5.3011/3072 from 5.2538/2579 at Tuesday’s close, depreciated against the euro to 4.6650/6703 from 4.6460/6495 yesterday, and weakened versus the Singapore dollar to 3.2823/2863 from 3.2768/2798 previously.

However, the ringgit rose vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.3694/3734 from 3.3755/3786 yesterday