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30.07.2020: USD approaching upper border of 70-75 range (Brent, USD/RUB)

Brent opened the day with losses. In midday session, the benchmark price for crude oil dropped even lower. The ruble met the recent forecasts and fell below 73 per dollar.
The US monetary policy remained unchanged, and Jerome Powell said nothing new. In this regard, yesterday's meeting did not have a significant impact on the market. Investors shifted their focus towards the economic stimulus package in the United States again. There is still high uncertainty about these measures. That is why market participants remain concerned. Risk appetite is falling, while the US dollar is recovering. All this puts oil and the ruble under pressure.
At midday, Brent crude oil futures contract for September lost more than 1%. North Sea crude was valued at 43 dollars 62 cents per barrel. On Wednesday, contracts were up by 1.2%. WTI crude oil futures contract for September demonstrated a similar trend pattern. US crude oil slipped to 40 dollars 59 cents per barrel.
At the same time, given the rising number of new COVID-19 cases, the outlook for oil demand is still uncertain. Besides, the investor sentiment remains under pressure following the news on the OPEC+ agreement to boost oil output in August. Consequently, traders expect an increase in crude oil production in the United States. Both of these factors can become some kind of an energy market stability test in the coming weeks.
This morning, the Russian currency has lost ground markedly against the US dollar. The dollar/ruble pair gained 1.15% and went above the level of 73.00. This is mainly due to the positive trend of the US currency in the international foreign exchange market against both major world currencies and the currencies of developing economies. Moreover, the oil market situation is dragging the ruble down. Today, the greenback is expected to stay firmly near the upper border of the 70.00–75.00 trading range.
Corrections of market optimism due to the coronavirus pandemic and rising tensions between the US and China will affect the Russian currency. At the same time, geopolitics will most likely become one of the key risks. The US presidential election is coming up and the American authorities may slap fresh sanctions on Russia. Besides, Washington may impose restrictive measures, which is not good news for market players.
Internal factors cannot support the ruble as well. Further weakening of the current account and the Bank of Russia’s continued monetary policy easing will definitely have a negative impact on the national currency.
The US additional monetary stimulus and a possible increase in risk appetite will hardly be sufficient for the ruble’s confident growth. August is likely to be challenging for the Russian currency.

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