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16.05.2019: Oil rises amid tensions around Strait of Hormuz

Fears regarding new attacks on oil facilities of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates sustain tensions on the market and push oil importers to more active purchasing. The risks of possible supply disruptions triggered the growth of oil benchmarks yesterday as the Asian oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz switched on alert mode.
Yesterday the Brent benchmark finished the day around $71.7 per barrel. Today’s morning it was trading above $72.5. The quote is approaching the resistance level of $73 where the sellers’ pressure may increase.
The report of the Energy Information Administration was released yesterday showing a sudden rise of 5.4 million barrels in the US oil stockpiles last week, while experts anticipated a decline of 0.8 million barrels. Thus, oil reserves in the United States hit the record level since September 2017.
The market showed a moderately negative reaction to this news. The WTI crude oil had a minor intraday correction after the previous three-hour rally. However, today its positive dynamic resumed. The WTI benchmark is trading at $62.51 per barrel as investors consider the risk of supply disruptions.
Delivery of Russian oil through the Druzhba pipeline to European countries has been suspended that also arouses concern among investors. Both branches have been closed due to detection of organic chloride compounds.
The ruble finds solid support from a steady rally of oil prices. The dollar/ruble pair settled down at near 65. Besides, growing demand for riskier assets is another reason behind strength of the Russian currency.
Yesterday investors’ confidence improved following the news that Donald Trump planned to delay imposing tariffs on imported cars and spare parts by six months.
On May 15, Russia’s finance ministry held a regular auction, having placed federal loan bonds worth 134.7 billion rubles. The auction slightly undershot the previous record. So, the ministry outperformed its plan on selling bonds for the second quarter.
Robust demand for Russia’s government bonds is a weighty argument in favor of the ruble. Last month, non-residents and subsidiaries of foreign banks bought 25 billion rubles on Forex. The Bank of Russia reported that the bulk of the funds was allocated for buying federal loan bonds at auctions.
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