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21.01.2021: RUB losing momentum against USD (Brent, USD/RUB).

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Oil is trading mixed on Thursday. Both bulls and bears have fundamental reasons for action. Brent price is expected to stay within the range of 55 and 56 dollars per barrel. Meanwhile, the ruble benefits from the tax payment period in Russia and improved risk appetite. The US dollar may shortly retreat to the level of 73.2.
Crude prices moved slightly higher yesterday but then dropped amid brearish industry data from the API. According to the report, US oil inventories rose by 2.5 million barrels last week. In the morning session, buyers tried to regain ground and pushed the quotes to positive territory. However, they lost momentum and the energy market slipped to the red. Brent futures contract with the nearest expiration was trading at 55 dollars 70 cents per barrel, having lost 0.7%. WTI crude was following a similar trajectory with its March futures reaching 53 dollars per barrel. A the same time, re-ignited worries over fuel demand served as a negative factor for the market. The outbreak of a new coronavirus strain in China adds to the pessimistic mood. Currently, the oil market is mostly bearish. However, bulls may also find a basis for growth. They are likely to regain control soon unless new negative factors appear. In particular, oil can find support in the upcoming stimulus package in the US which is likely to improve risk sentiment. Measures taken by the new administration will help revive economic activity, thus boosting fuel demand. If the US Energy Information Administration does not confirm an increase in oil stockpiles, the market is sure to resume its uptrend. In addition, a weaker US dollar may contribute to oil’s rise. Some analysts think that the US currency has entered a phase of a long-term decline. Therefore, Brent buyers can make an attempt to push the quote above 57 dollars per barrel. The ruble is trading without any changes against the US currency. It made several attempts to advance, but they were not successful. In general, the ruble is holding steady despite a correctional move in the oil market. It is mainly supported by positive background and investor enthusiasm. The inauguration of Joe Biden went smoothly, ending political uncertainty in the country. The ruble gains additional support from the tax payment period and positive dynamics in emerging market currencies.
All these factors are favorable for opening long positions on the ruble. However, the situation may change by the end of the day. As soon as the ruble retests the 73 level, the correction is likely to start. The US dollar may try to win back some of its losses. However, no significant changes are expected. In the coming sessions, the dollar/ruble pair is likely to hold in the range between 73 and 75. The risk of sanctions has faded away for now. The ruble has gained significant support. However, the long-term resistance at the 73 mark may limit the ruble’s growth.

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