Malaysia ringgit at fresh 17-year low ahead of FX reserves data


SINGAPORE - The Malaysian ringgit fell to a fresh 17-year low on Friday as investors awaited foreign exchange reserve data for signs on how much ammunition the central bank has left to defend the currency.

The ringgit fell nearly 1.0 percent to 4.1780 per dollar, its weakest since Aug. 31, 1998.

The country pegged the ringgit at 3.8000 to the U.S. currency in September 1998 and maintained it until 2005.

Malaysia will release the reserves data as of mid-August at 1000 GMT. Its international reserves fell below the $100 billion mark last month.

A protracted political crisis, slumping commodity prices and an investor exodus from emerging market assets have all undermined the currency's appeal, and pressure intensified after China's surprise yuan devaluation last week.

The Southeast Asian country is a major supplier of liquefied natural gas and palm oil.