KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit extended its downtrend for the fourth consecutive day to open lower against the US dollar amid expectations for a faster tapering process and possible rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, an analyst said.

At 9 am, the local note weakened to 4.2130/2160 versus the greenback from 4.2095/2135 at yesterday's close.

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid the US Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes indicated that the committee members would not hesitate to address inflationary pressures, implying that the tapering process could be quickened and a rate hike could happen sooner.

"All this has provided support to the greenback with the US Dollar Index (DXY) going up by 0.4 per cent to 96.785 points.

"As such, the ringgit could stay weak with an eye towards the current resistance level of RM4.245. At the moment, the ringgit-US dollar pair could linger around RM4.21 to RM4.22," he told Bernama.

Meanwhile, at the opening, the local note was traded mixed against a basket of major currencies.

It rose versus the British pound to 5.6210/6250 from 5.6235/6288 at Wednesday's close and appreciated vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.6527/6553 from 3.6601/6639.

However, the ringgit fell against the Singapore dollar to 3.0797/0821 from 3.0791/0825 yesterday and slipped against the euro to 4.7228/7261 from 4.7180/7225 previously.