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17.05.2019: Oil prices buoyed amid disturbances in Middle East (Brent, RUB)

Oil prices have been rising for four consequent days amid escalation of tensions in the Persian Gulf and a fall in oil output in the United States that was registered for the second week in a row. Today Baker Hughes will release the oil rig count report. However, the most significant factor that encourages buyers is a risk of disruption in supplies due to possible attacks on the oil facilities of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
On Thursday oil futures settled above 72.5 dollars per barrel, having reached 73 dollars per barrel at some moment. In early deals, the Brent crude benchmark was trading in the green zone. It has added 0.6% from yesterday’s closing quote and approached the level of 72.81 dollars per barrel. Overall, the oil market is bullish. If the price holds above 73 dollars per barrel, it can return to April’s highs.
This weekend, on the 19th of May, the OPEC+ Monitoring Committee will hold a meeting where it will discuss the current situation in the market and an option of revising the quota levels at the meeting in June. Ahead of this event, comments from Saudi and Russian officials will be under the spotlight. Besides, investors may be willing to reduce the volume of risky deals before the weekend, so a slight correction can be seen.
Earlier, the Russian currency maintained bullish momentum and held steady against the US dollar. Today the USD/RUB pair was trading near the level of 64.65, having added 0.03%.
The fundamental factors remain upbeat which provides support to the ruble. In particular, the Bank of Russia has increased the volume of purchases of foreign currencies. Besides, the tension on the global stock markets has eased while the demand for the Russian federal loan bonds has increased. So, the outlook for the ruble exchange rate is positive.
The dollar-ruble pair held below the key level of 65, but it has not managed to break the next support at 64.34. However, the pair is likely to move further to the downside.
The high demand for the Russian OFZ contributes to the ruble’s rise. An inflow of funds into the federal loan bonds from abroad is massive: in April it rose to 27.1% from 26.2% as of at the end of March.
What is more, the American currency has been rising for three days in a row. Yesterday, the US dollar index that measures the greenback’s value relative to the basket of major currencies advanced by 0.33% towards 97.85. The dollar gained ground as the euro and the British pound weakened due to speculations about the resignation of Theresa May in June.
We keep close tabs on the market developments. Stay tuned!

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