Singapore dollar stronger than ever against ringgit

With the Singapore dollar recording a historical high against the Malaysian ringgit, the latter currency is selling like hotcakes.

Moneychangers across the country are seeing long lines in front of their shops for the ringgit. Lianhe Wanbao reported that one moneychanger said it sold two million ringgit (approximately $800,000) in just one day.

The exchange rate for Singapore dollars to ringgit is at S$1:RM2.50.

The person-in-charge at Crown Exchange, a moneychanger and currency wholesaler located at Clifford Pier, said that usually they sell less than a million ringgit a day. However, in the past five days, the sales for each day have increased by about 15 per cent, far exceeding one million ringgit.

The person added that the average daily sales volume for the ringgit in the past five days is RM1.2 million and, on one of those days, they sold two million worth of ringgit. Around RM100,000 ringgit a day was sold to retail customers, while the rest was sold wholesale to other moneychangers. He said that their stock of ringgit is still sufficient.

Tan Qin He, a 58 year-old moneychanger with a shop in the HDB district of Bukit Batok, said for the past few days, moneychangers are offering the exchange rate of S$1 to RM2.495. They are said to be buying the currency at 2.503 ringgit for one Singapore dollar.

Tan said that in the past one to two years, moneychangers in Singapore have been lowering the exchange rate for the ringgit. Singaporeans can get three ringgit more for every 100 Singapore dollars they exchange here compared to the amount they will get in Johor.

Sources said that most of the people buying ringgit these past few days are Malaysian tourists and Malaysians working in Singapore. One moneychanger at Boon Lay said that on normal days, customers exchange $100-$200 worth of ringgit, but, recently, people are dropping by with $200-$1,000 in their hands.

According to a Malaysian newspaper report, the weakening of the ringgit against the Singapore dollar is expected to attract more Malaysians to seek employment in Singapore.

Loh Liam Hiang, president of the Johor Bahru Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, urged companies to adopt a soft approach and increase benefits and work prospects to retain young talents.

Teh Kee Sin, national president of SMI Association of Malaysia, said that the living standards in Singapore are a lot higher. Malaysian workers living in Singapore will be forced to spend a large amount of what they earn just on necessities.

David Leong, managing director of PeopleWorldwide, said that between 2007 and 2010, companies chose to hire Chinese workers over Malaysian ones. “But with the strengthening of the renminbi, the Chinese are less eager to work overseas,” he said. He predicted that the number of workers from China, India and Myanmar will decrease and the demand for Malaysian workers will go up.

According to him, although Malaysians generally command higher salaries than workers from other Asian countries, they adapt better in Singapore than their Asian counterparts. And with the demand for service staff and bus drivers still high in Singapore, he expects that more Malaysians will be hired here in future.

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