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29.07.2020: Ruble at risk of losing ground (Brent, USD/RUB)

The ruble and oil continue to ignore the dynamics of the US dollar across the board. Today, the energy market is gaining support from industry statistics, while the Russian currency is trying to regain some of yesterday's losses.
In midday session, Brent crude oil futures for September added more than 1% to 44 dollars 09 cents per barrel. The nearest WTI crude oil futures contract showed a similar trend pattern. US crude oil was trading at the level of 41 dollars 45 cents. The American Petroleum Institute reported an unexpected drop in US crude inventories by 6.8 million barrels, while traders were awaiting an increase of 357 thousand.
This news has had a positive impact on market sentiment, since investors continue to worry about oil demand and the pace of the global economic recovery.
Today, industry statistics from the US Department of Energy is in the focus of market participants. Traders expect the department to report a decrease in crude inventories by 1.2 million barrels and gasoline inventories by 2 million. The data released last week was rather downbeat. Production increased, while demand declined in all categories. If today’s report is the same, oil may come under even greater pressure.
The OPEC + decision to boost oil production by 2 million barrels in August is also affecting investor sentiment. The April agreement will inevitably lead to a glut of supply in the oil market in the next few months. Therefore, sellers are still setting the tone for oil due to the fundamental background.
At the same time, oil prices do not respond properly to the weak US dollar. This is alarming. If the energy market situation gets worse, oil may reach the level of $40 per barrel.
Today, the ruble has regained its losses following oil. The dollar/ruble pair has plummeted by 0.5% to the level of 72.23. On Tuesday, the ruble sank 1.3%. The decline was probably due to the purchase of foreign currency by non-residents for the dividends received. Besides, the fact that Russians have started to plan their holidays abroad is also putting pressure on the ruble. Moreover, the negative side effects of these factors may occur only in the coming days. If there is massive sell-off in the OFZ market, the Russian currency is likely to tumble as a result of converting rubles into foreign currency.
This week, the dollar/ruble pair may approach 73.00 and even step over this level. Everything will depend on the external background, which is rather contradictory today.
Global investors are shifting their focus towards the coronavirus pandemic. The situation in the Old World seems to be alarming as market participants have found signs of a second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak. The US macroeconomic statistics also show quite disappointing results. In case investor risk appetite increases, the ruble may become one of the big gainers among analogue currencies.
The key events of today’s macroeconomic calendar are the Fed’s meeting on interest rates and Jerome Powell's press conference. Markets are hoping to receive some clues about the future of the monetary policy in the event of much weaker economic growth in the US.

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