No plans now for offshore trading in Malaysian ringgit

July 21, 2007 - 0:0

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) -- Malaysia has shot down speculation that it plans to liberalize the ringgit further on the back of a strong currency and a stable economy.

""It is a market talk. So far, I have not been alerted of any policy changes,"" Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a New Straits Times report published on Friday. There has been speculation that the central bank would relax some rules governing offshore trading in the ringgit, the newspaper said. Echoing similar sentiments, Zamani Abdul Ghani, central bank deputy governor said he was unaware of any plans to liberalize the ringgit. ""Not that I know,"" he said. An economist with a local brokerage firm told AFP Friday that the ""government was unlikely to internationalize the ringgit soon. ""It will not happen so soon. The market is volatile. There is also the concern of speculators,"" he said. In early trade Friday, the ringgit was higher at 3.4270/4310 against the dollar compared with Thursday's closing of 3.4330/4380. Malaysia imposed capital controls in 1998 at the height of the Asian financial crisis. The government ended its peg of 3.80 to the U.S. dollar in July 2005 in favor of a managed float based against a basket of currencies but it has yet to allow the ringgit to be traded internationally