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Exchange rates last updated Tuesday, 05 February 2019 11:15:17 AM EST. The online exchange rates provided by this Currency Converter are intended as a guide only and should not be used for transactional purposes. All rates are subject to change from time to time without notice. Exchange rates used in-store may differ from those offered online. The Travelex online sell rate will be used for conversions from US Dollars to a foreign currency.
The latest on USD to MYR exchange rates
The lowdown on the Malaysia ringgit
Like many of the currencies of the world, the Malaysian ringgit has its roots back in the Spanish dollar. Back when Malaysia was a Portuguese colony in the 16th and 17th century, Spanish dollars were the currency of choice in the country. The silver Spanish dollars had a serrated edge and soon garnered the nickname of ‘ringgit’ which means jagged in Malay. When the Malaysian dollar was introduced on June 12, 1967, it was known as ‘ringgit’ in Malay and ‘dollar’ in English. It wasn’t until August of 1975 that the currency’s name was officially changed to Malaysian ringgit in all languages, with the currency symbol ‘RM’ (Ringgit Malaysia) replacing the earlier ‘M$’ symbol in 1993.
A look back at US dollar to Malaysia ringgit rates
When the Malaysian dollar was introduced on June 12, 1967, it replaced the previous Malaya and British Borneo dollar at the same rate of 8.57 dollars to 1 British pound, which was around 2.40 US dollars at the time. The old Malaya and British Borneo dollar had been the currency of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, and the three countries kept their new individual currencies on par with one another as part of the Interchangeability Agreement. This carried on until May 8, 1973 when the Malaysian government left the agreement.
The Malaysian ringgit in the ‘90s
With the Malaysian ringgit trading as a free floating currency, it was exchanging at a rate of around 2.50 to 1 US dollar until 1997. When the East Asian financial crisis hit at the end of 1997, the ringgit devalued to around 3.80 to the dollar and continued to float between 3.80 and 4.40 to the dollar throughout the year. In September of 1998, the Bank Negara Malaysia pegged the ringgit to the US dollar at a rate of RM3.80 to $1, a pegged that remained in place for the next seven years.
Malaysian Ringgit after the US peg
On 21 July 2005, the Bank Negara announced that the ringgit was ending its peg to the US dollar, following on from China's similar announcement of the end of the yuan renminbi peg to the US dollar. After the end of the peg, the ringgit was valued at 3.16 against the dollar in April of 2008.
A combination of factors including political uncertainty around Malaysia’s 2008 general election, falling oil prices and low interest rates saw the ringgit drop in value, exchanging at around 3.43 to the dollar on September 4 2008.
The ringgit’s value fell drastically after the plunge of the world’s crude oil prices in September of 2014, losing 16.4% against the US dollar and threating to worsen the country’s budget deficit. By the following July, the ringgit had reached a 16 year low and was trading at around RM3.81 to $1.