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15.05.2019: Oil and ruble rising amid attacks on Saudi oil pipeline (Brent, Rub)

Yesterday, the Saudi oil facilities were attacked which resulted in a shutdown of the pipeline. Earlier, four oil tankers were also attacked near the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates. Two of the vessels belong to Saudi Arabia.
The attacks are connected with the escalating conflict between Iran and the United States. However, Tehran has not officially confirmed its involvement.
These events led to a slight increase in oil prices. Thus, Brent futures advanced above 71 dollars per barrel, but then an unexpected rise in US crude oil inventories dented the rally. So, both positive and negative factors influence the dynamics of oil futures. On the one hand, disruptions in supplies from Iran and Venezuela provide support to crude oil. On the other hand, concerns over a possible decline in demand for energy due to the US-China trade war put the commodity under pressure.
Yesterday, the American Petroleum Institute released the crude oil inventories data. It showed a weekly increase of 8.6 million barrels. Today the Energy Information Administration will deliver the official report that is considered to be more accurate.
Meanwhile, the Russian ruble strengthened against the US dollar and the euro, supported by rising oil prices, improvement of the situation on the global stock markets, and increased demand for Gazprom shares, as they are expected to provide higher dividends.
Yesterday Gazprom offered the dividends in the amount of 16.61 rubles per share, so investors may hope for 10% profits. This news lightened up the investor sentiment. The shares surged, and the company’s capitalization expanded by over 16% in one day. The trading volume was at 33 billion rubles. A part of this investments came from abroad, so that it also boosted a rise in the ruble exchange rate.
Today the Russian Finance Ministry will place the federal loan bonds with the serial numbers 26227, 26225 and 52002. The demand for OFZ indicates foreign investors’ interest in the Russian assets and is one of the factors that shapes the market sentiment.
In early deals the USD/RUB pair lost 0.03% since yesterday, having reached the level of 64.82.
In addition, the favorable environment in the global market provided support to the ruble. Donald Trump took a milder approach to negotiations with the Chinese counterparts.
Today market participants will absorb the GDP data from Germany as well as the retail sales and industrial output reports from the United States. We keep close tabs on the market developments. Stay tuned.

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