On Tuesday, December 24, trading on ruble pairs closed down. The pair decreased by 0.48%, to 61.96 rubles, – by 0.62%, to 68.62 rubles, pound/rouble – by 0.13%, to 80.29 rubles.

Trading on the Moscow Exchange opened with a decline in ruble pairs. At the end of the day, the ruble updated its annual highs against the background of the tax period, low liquidity and rising oil prices.

Peak payments are on December 25 and 30. On December 25, Russian companies pay VAT, NDPI and excise taxes, then on Monday, December 30, a tax on profits totaling about 1.4 trillion rubles.

Activity in financial markets ahead of the Christmas holidays was low, apart from precious metals, which rose in price on the announcement that North Korea has made progress in developing new weapons. This has put U.S. and South Korean officials on alert for potential long-range missile tests. The ruble did not react to the price rise. The dollar/rouble pair broke through the level of 62 rubles.

Today, by 11:20 Moscow Time, the ruble exchange rate strengthens the growth against the dollar and the euro. The dollar loses 0.53% and costs 61.64 rubles, the euro is cheaper by 0.35% and trades at 68.38 rubles. February crude futures rose 1.24 percent to $67.21.

Demand for black gold remains against the background of the interim trade agreement between the U.S. and China, opec supply cuts, a positive report from the American Petroleum Institute (API), and a general weakening of the US dollar.

According to API statistics, crude oil inventories decreased by 7.9 million barrels in the week to December 20. Gasoline inventories increased by 0.566 million barrels and distillate inventories by 1.68 million barrels. Due to the holidays, the U.S. Department of Energy will publish a report on crude oil reserves on Friday.

Buyers opened the road to $68. A maximum of $69.64 from September 16, 2019 will be tested. It was formed when Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities were hit by cruise missiles. I believe that in January the price of Brent will rise to the zone of $71,00-72.50.

Today, the exchanges are closed on the occasion of national holidays. December 25, 2019 is the official working day at the Moscow Exchange. On The Tuesday before the Christmas and New Year holidays, the big players (legal) closed short positions in the amount of 224.6 thousand. 1.049 million contracts a day earlier. The decrease was -21.41%. Today the market will be managed by speculators. Be prepared for any unpredictable movements.

Vladislav Antonov, Analyst at Alpari