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May 26. Brent rises after the release of US data on stocks

On Thursday, the oil market is showing a rise after the release of data from the US Department of Energy on crude oil reserves in the country, which showed a decrease in oil and gasoline reserves before the start of the automotive season.

The current Brent quote is $111.60 (the daily maximum is at $111.86 per barrel). WTI oil is trading at $111.11 per barrel.

According to the report of the Ministry of Energy, commercial oil reserves in the United States for the week ended May 20 decreased by 1.02 million barrels to 419.8 million barrels. Experts on average expected a decrease in reserves by 2.13 million barrels. Stocks at the terminal in Cushing decreased by 1.1 million barrels. Oil production remained at 11.9 million barrels.

Gasoline stocks decreased by 482 thousand barrels, distillates – increased by 1.66 million barrels. Analysts expected a reduction in gasoline stocks by 2.13 million barrels and an increase in distillate stocks by 1 million barrels.

Earlier this week, it was also reported that the administration of US President Joe Biden is considering restricting the export of petroleum products from the country to curb the rise in gasoline and diesel fuel prices.

May 25. Russia and Iran switch to settlements in national currencies​​​​​​​

Russia and Iran held a meeting during which the countries agreed to switch to settlements in national currencies and discussed the possibilities of Shetab and Mir payment cards.

The negotiators note that the relevance of the topic of financial and banking relations between countries, as well as the creation of conditions for mutual settlements and payments between legal entities and organizations is a huge step forward.

In addition, the countries discussed swap supplies of oil and gas, as well as increased investments for the implementation of joint oil and gas projects in the republic. According to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, cooperation between Russia and Iran in the current conditions is becoming one of the most key, including for the transit of goods from the Persian Gulf.

The parties also agreed to accelerate the preparation of an agreement on a free trade zone. Currently, Russia has a free trade agreement with the CIS countries – it was signed on October 18, 2011.

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May 27. Gold shows a downtrend​​​​​​​

Gold quotes settled at $1,855 per troy ounce, which is 11% lower than the maximum value reached on March 8, 2022 ($2,078 per ounce).

Since the beginning of May, prices have fluctuated in the range of $1800 – $1870. Analysts note that this trend is the result of a temporary decrease in the degree of geopolitical tension in the world.

Economists predict that gold prices will average $1880 per ounce this year. At the same time, the main factor influencing the dynamics of precious metal prices will be the tightening of the monetary policy of the US Federal Reserve. And a further increase in the federal funds rate of the US Federal Reserve will help maintain the downward trend in gold quotes.

However, analysts do not rule out a trend reversal. This may happen in the event of a more serious deterioration in geopolitics than the market currently predicts.

It is worth noting that gold often acts as an important protective tool for developed countries. As a rule, wealthy EU citizens try to hedge the risks of financial market volatility and sharply increased inflation through investments in gold ETFs or bullion. Current interest rates are not very attractive and do not give Europeans the opportunity to protect their savings. Moreover, the EU countries are in close proximity to the military events in Ukraine, which also strengthens their motivation to invest in protective assets.

At the same time, the demand for gold in China has decreased. Severe coronavirus restrictions negatively affect the physical ability of the population to purchase precious metals.

Summing up the above, it can be assumed that attempts to stabilize the world economy, tightening the DCP and reducing the influence of the geopolitical factor will lead to a gradual decline in gold prices. However, it is worth remembering that a sufficiently high level of uncertainty in the short-term prospects will currently keep prices from falling sharply.

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May 30. Inflation in Germany accelerated to a record 8.7% in May

According to data from the German Federal Statistical Office Destatis, consumer prices harmonized with EU standards jumped by 8.7% year-on-year in May. This indicator has become a record since the beginning of his calculations. Analysts had expected a more moderate growth of 8%. Inflation in April was fixed at 7.8%.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices increased by 1.1% in May after an increase of 0.7% in April. Experts expected an increase of 0.5%.

Consumer prices calculated only by German standards jumped by 7.9% y/y and 0.9% m/m in May. Analysts had expected growth of 7.6% and 0.5%, respectively.

According to the Destatis report, annual growth has become a record since the winter of 1973-74.

Energy carriers rose the most: the price increase in May amounted to 38.3% in annual terms after an increase of 35.3% in April. Food prices rose by 11.1% (in April – by 8.6%). The growth of prices for services slowed to 2.9% from 3.2%.

May 31. The oil market continues to grow on the sanctions news

Oil quotes continue to follow the upward trend that began last week. Then Brent was trading below the level of $110, while today the current quotation of the commodity asset reached $123.32 per barrel.

North American WTI crude is trading at $119 per barrel, up from $105 last week.

The driver for growth today was the news that the leaders of the EU countries finally agreed on a partial ban on the import of Russian oil. In particular, the participants of the debate agreed to impose an embargo on two-thirds of oil supplied from Russia. At the same time, by the end of the year, the EU hopes to get rid of 90% of Russian raw materials.

The decision to impose not a full, but a partial embargo was a compromise, since not all countries supported the introduction of an import ban. Hungary, which is heavily dependent on energy resources from the Russian Federation, opposed it.

Analysts note that a complete rejection of Russian oil may lead to its rise in price to $ 185 per barrel.
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June 1. Experts: 3 tips for surviving a recession​​​​​​​

As the likelihood of a recession in the United States grows, more economists are pointing out the growing downside risks and offering advice on how to invest during this period.

Many analysts are bearish in their forecasts as the US economy is experiencing multiple shocks today. Among the main risk factors, experts point out the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, the rise in oil prices to $150 per barrel, the extraordinary strengthening of the dollar, as well as the strongest pressure on companies due to rising costs.

In this difficult period of constant volatility in the market, economists advise the following:

Buying shares in three defensive sectors

Investment bank Morgan Stanley recommends investing in protective sectors: healthcare, utilities and real estate. In healthcare, stocks trade at a discount to the general market. The Bank favors large-cap pharmaceutical and biotechnology stocks as they trade at an attractive price and offer relatively large dividend yields.

The real estate sector grew 42% last year and outperformed the broader US market by 16%. This sector provides stable income and dividends, in particular – protection against inflation through leases, rent increases and rising property values.

The utilities sector provides relative protection against high costs (due to the established pricing structure in utilities) even against the backdrop of the effects of rising energy prices.

Keeping patience

Analysts are sure that during a recession special patience is required when using cash for any investment opportunity. A bear market can last for about a year and sometimes causes a drawdown of around 30%. Therefore, it is also important to diversify investments throughout the period.

Purchase of investment grade bonds

Another recommendation from experts is to buy quality bonds and avoid low-quality or high-yielding bonds.

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June 3. Economists predict the collapse of thousands of digital currencies

The cryptocurrency market today has more than 19 thousand cryptocurrencies and dozens of blockchain platforms, however, a number of cryptocurrency firms suggest that in the coming years many digital tokens will collapse, and the number of blockchains will decrease. Experts predict that in the future there will be only dozens of cryptocurrencies.

Universal attention to the vulnerability of cryptocurrencies was attracted by the recent collapse of the so-called algorithmic stablecoin Terra USD and the associated digital token Luna. The fall of Luna shocked the market, after which many economists began to think more and more about the future and viability of digital currencies.

Web3 Foundation CEO Bertrand Perez drew a parallel between cryptocurrencies and «dotcoms». He believes that the collapse of Terra was one of the consequences of too many blockchains and tokens on the market, which confuses users and involves some risks for them.

Just like at the beginning of the Internet era, when too many «dotcom companies» appeared, many of them were fraudulent and did not bring any value. However, over time, the market «cleared» of them, leaving only useful and legitimate companies. Today, the situation in the crypto market is repeating itself, and many experts agree that most of the cryptomonets will no longer exist in the future. The only question is which ones will stay afloat. A number of analysts believe that only bitcoin and Ethereum will survive.

Currently, the market continues to be under pressure. Bitcoin has fallen by more than 50% compared to its all-time high reached in November ($67,789). The current BTC quote is $30,416. Many other digital currencies have also seriously fallen in price compared to historical peaks.

June 2. US stock market closed in the red on fears of tightening monetary policy

The US stock market closed in the red, although at the beginning of yesterday the trading session began with growth.

The value of the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 0.54% to 32,813.23 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 dropped 0.75% to 4101.23 points. The Nasdaq Composite index lost 0.72% to 11,994.46 points.

Surprisingly, the negative factor this time was the strong statistics on manufacturing activity in the country, because, according to experts, it increased the likelihood of a more aggressive tightening of the Fed's monetary policy.

In particular, the index of business activity in the US manufacturing sector in May increased to 56.1 points from April's 55.4 points. Analysts on average expected it to decline to 54.5 points. Tomorrow we should pay attention to the statistics on the American labor market. It is expected that unemployment will decrease in May to 3.5% (from 3.6% in April), and the number of jobs will grow by 325 thousand (after an increase of 406 thousand in April).

Analysts note: «There is some irony in the fact that the pressure on the US stock market may increase if the statistical data indicate the continued active growth of the US economy and raise the yield of government bonds to the highs of the current cycle.»

In addition, on June 1, the Fed began reducing the amount of assets on its balance sheet, which reached $ 9 trillion.

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June 6. Asian stock markets showed growth, pulling European indices along with them​​​​​​​

Stock indices of the Asia-Pacific region (APR) on Monday mainly show growth after the publication of strong statistics on China.

The business activity index (PMI) in China's services sector rose to 41.4 points in May from 36.2 points a month earlier. The composite index in industry and services rose from 37.2 points in April to 42.2 points in May.

As a result, the South Korean index of the Shanghai Stock Exchange Shanghai Composite ended trading up to 3236.37 points, the index of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange Shenzhen Composite rose to 2073.56 points, and the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index rose to 21653.9 points.

Positive statistics on China have improved traders' expectations about the prospects for economic recovery, especially in light of the easing of quarantine restrictions in the country. Following the Asian markets, European stock indexes also started to grow.

In particular, the British FTSE 100 index rose to 7626.28 points, the French CAC 40 – to 6542.73 points, the German DAX – to 14560.11 points.

In addition, European indices are supported by shares of energy companies, which are becoming more expensive against the backdrop of rising oil prices. For example, the securities of Eni, Total Energies, Shell and BP are growing in price by 1.33%, 1.43%, 0.87% and 2.28%, respectively.

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June 7. The yen is trading at a 20-year low to dollar on the softer policy of the Central Bank of Japan​​​​​​​

According to trading data, the Japanese yen is trading at a twenty-year low against the dollar amid a softer monetary policy of the central bank of Japan.

On Tuesday morning, the yen fell against the US dollar to 132.77. Earlier in the course of trading, the Japanese currency fell even lower against the dollar – to the minimum of April 2002.

Economists note that the weakening of the yen against the dollar is due to the rhetoric of the Central Bank of Japan. The regulator intends to maintain the current soft parameters of monetary policy, while the US Federal Reserve makes more «hawkish» decisions on the discount rate.

On the eve of the deputy head of the central bank Masazumi Wakatabe said that it is necessary to patiently continue easing monetary policy, without excluding the possibility of additional easing.

In addition, yesterday, the head of the Bank of Japan, Haruhiko Kuroda, said that the priority for the regulator is to support the economy and commit to maintaining monetary stimulus. He noted that the economic situation in Japan today does not require tightening of monetary policy at all, since the economy is still in the process of recovering from the effects of the pandemic.

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June 8. New obstacles in concluding a deal for Musk's purchase of Twitter​​​​​​​

The uncertainty surrounding the deal to buy Twitter by Elon Musk may lead to the disruption of plans to attract an additional $ 2-3 billion from third-party investors.

At the moment, Musk's attempts to organize new financing of the transaction have been suspended. In total, the entrepreneur planned to invest $ 33.5 billion in the transaction, and to attract the rest (of the total $ 44 billion) from outside investors.

It is clarified that Musk intended to receive additional financing from a group of private investment companies led by Apollo Global Management Inc in exchange for preferred shares of Twitter.

However, back on April 15, Twitter's board of directors adopted a shareholder rights protection plan, which was supposed to prevent an undesirable takeover of the company by Musk. On April 25, the parties still managed to agree on a deal. According to the agreements, Musk will buy Twitter for $ 44 billion ($54.2 per share).

But in May, the conclusion of the deal was again in question: Elon Musk stated his desire to make sure that spam and fake Twitter accounts account for less than 5%. And the day before yesterday, on June 6, Musk accused Twitter that the company refuses to provide this information and thus violates the agreement on the deal.

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June 9. Oil prices continued to rise after reaching highs the day before​​​​​​​

Oil quotes continued to remain stable on Thursday after rising to three-month highs the day before ($124.40). The current price of Brent is $123.41 per barrel.

The market continues to analyze statistical data on the volume of raw materials stocks in the United States and on China's foreign trade for May. The volume of Chinese exports jumped by 16.9% year-on-year last month amid the lifting of many covid restrictions in the country.

Yesterday, the US Department of Energy reported an unexpected increase in oil reserves in the country by 2.02 million barrels to 416.76 million barrels. It is clarified that this is due to an increase in imports to the country to 1.9 million barrels per day (against 0.08 million barrels a week earlier).

At the same time, gasoline reserves decreased by 812 thousand barrels and amounted to 218.18 million barrels. The drop in gasoline stocks was a consequence of the beginning of the automobile season in the United States, when demand for fuel is traditionally high.

Fuel consumption in the country in the reporting week exceeded 20 million barrels per day (and for the same period, these are the highs from the pre-2019 year).

In general, the confirmation of high demand and low inventory levels reinforced investors' confidence in maintaining the deficit and were able to push oil quotes up. Some analysts predict that once fixed above the level of $120 per barrel, oil will be able to go higher – with a target in the area of $130-135 per barrel.

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June 15. Industrial production in China increased by 0.7% in May

According to the data of the National Bureau of Statistics, the volume of industrial production in China in May increased by 0.7% compared to the same month in 2021 against the background of the weakening of quarantine coronavirus measures in the country. Analysts on average expected a decline of 0.7% last month. In April, industrial production in China fell by 2.9%.

In particular, manufacturing output rose 0.1% after falling 4.6% in April. The output of chemical products and raw materials increased by 5%, food products – by 1.6%, communication equipment – by 7.3%. The growth of mining production in May slowed to 7% from 9.5% in April, electricity generation – from 1.5% to 0.2%.

In the first five months of this year, Chinese industrial production increased by 3.3% compared to the same period in 2021.

The National Bureau of Statistics of China also presented statistics on retail sales in May. The decline in sales slowed to 6.7% year-on-year after falling 11.1% in April. Analysts had expected a decrease of 7.1%. It is noted that sales have been declining for the third month in a row amid restrictions to combat a new outbreak of coronavirus. In the period from January to May, retail sales decreased by 1.5%.

Unemployment in China fell to 5.9% in May, compared with 6.1% in April. The target unemployment rate in the country today is 5.5%.

June 14. Bitcoin remains below $23 thousand

On Tuesday, the price of bitcoin continues to remain in the area of local lows: the current price of BTC is $22153. During the day, the cryptocurrency even dropped to $20,834, for the first time since December 2020.

Analysts note that against the background of falling quotations, the capitalization of the cryptocurrency market has fallen below $1 trillion and is now $959.1 billion.

The price of bitcoin has been declining for seven consecutive trading sessions. During all this time, the cryptocurrency has lost about 27% of its value. The strongest decline occurred at the beginning of this week – at the same time there were sales on the world stock markets. Yesterday, for example, the main US stock indexes fell by 2.8-4.7%, and the indices of Asia and Europe today show multidirectional dynamics.

In total, since the beginning of June, bitcoin has fallen in price by more than 28%, in spring its value has dropped by 26%, since the beginning of the year – by half. At the beginning of January, bitcoin cost $ 46.2 thousand.

Economists note that the crypto market is also under pressure after one of the largest multifunctional players in this area, Celsius Network, on Monday suspended the possibility of withdrawing funds due to a liquidity crisis.

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June 16. The Swiss Central Bank raised the rate for the first time in 15 years

Today, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) made an unexpected decision to raise the deposit rate for the first time since September 2007. The rate was raised immediately by 50 basis points, and currently it is minus 0.25% per annum. The previous rate level (minus 0.75% per annum) has been held since 2015.

The regulator noted that the purpose of tightening monetary policy is to prevent the spread of inflation to goods and services in Switzerland. Also, the Central Bank does not exclude the possibility of further rate hikes to stabilize inflation in a range that ensures price stability in the medium term.

After the announcement of the results of the Central Bank meeting, the Swiss franc rate soared against the euro: to 1.0204 euros from 0.9631 euros the day before. Against the US dollar, the franc rose by 1.26% and was trading near 0.982.

June 17. Bitcoin is approaching the $20 thousand mark

Bitcoin continues to demonstrate a persistent «bearish» trend, approaching the main psychological threshold of $20 thousand. The current bitcoin quote paired with the US dollar is $20880.

The pressure on the most popular cryptocurrency continues to be exerted by sales on the world market and the mass withdrawal of investors from risky assets. For example, the Nasdaq index closed more than 4% lower on Thursday, and the S&P 500 fell 3.25%. The Dow Jones index fell below the key threshold of 30,000 points for the first time in more than a year, falling by 2.42%.

The French CAC 40 index ended the day down 2.39%, while the German Dax index fell 3.31%.

Yesterday, European investors were surprised by an unexpected rate hike of 0.50% by the Swiss National Bank. As you know, the central bank of Switzerland is one of the most «dovish» regulators, and the rate was raised for the first time in the last 15 years.

However, despite all the negative factors, analysts also highlight a positive moment in the dynamics of the cryptocurrency – the fact that bitcoin has not yet tested the threshold of $20 thousand. And if the asset manages to return to the $25k area, it could lead to a new upward rally (as at the end of 2020, when BTC rose sharply to a historic high above $60k).

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June 21. The Bank of England urged not to use monetary policy to stabilize the pound​​​​​​​

Hugh Pill, chief economist at the British central Bank, said that the Bank of England should focus its monetary policy on the main goal of controlling inflation, rather than trying to stabilize the exchange rate or economic activity.

Pill also noted that the regulator should pay attention to what is happening in the foreign exchange market and in other central banks, but at the same time realistically assess their capabilities.

«Monetary policy is an inaccurate tool, not a panacea,» the economist stressed.

A day earlier, a member of the Monetary Policy Committee, Catherine Mann, suggested that a more significant increase in interest rates in the short term could compensate for the weakening of the pound caused by inflation.

In December, the Bank of England became the first of the key central banks to raise the cost of borrowing after the pandemic and has since raised the key rate five times, bringing it to 1.25%. Pill suggested that further policy tightening may be required in the coming months, as inflation is approaching 11%.

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June 22. Inflation in the UK has updated the maximum in more than 40 years

According to the Office for National Statistics of the UK, in May consumer prices jumped by 9.1% compared to the same month last year. As a result, inflation in the country accelerated to the highest in more than 40 years. The current indicator coincided with analysts' forecasts.

In April, the annual inflation rate was recorded at 9%.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices in May rose by 0.7% compared to last month after a jump of 2.5% in April. Experts expected an average increase of 0.6%.

Analysts note that the increase in inflationary pressure in the UK is mainly due to higher prices for food and energy, including electricity, gas and gasoline.

Prices excluding food, alcohol, tobacco and energy (core inflation, CPI Core) in May increased by 5.9% in annual terms and by 0.5% monthly. In April, their growth was 6.2% and 0.7%, respectively.

Retail prices (RPI index) soared by 11.7% year-on-year after rising by 11.1% a month earlier. It is worth noting that it is the RPI index that is used by British employers when negotiating salaries.

June 23. The Asian market fell after Powell acknowledged the risk of a recession​​​​​​​

The stock market of the Asia-Pacific region on Thursday morning is mainly reduced. Investors continue to assess the prospects for monetary policy after the head of the US Federal Reserve Jerome Powell acknowledged the risk of a recession.

In particular, the Japanese Nikkei 225 fell to 26.039 points, the South Korean KOSPI fell to 2.314. The Australian ASX 200 fell to 6.425. Hong Kong Hang Seng – to 21.008.

The Chinese Shanghai Composite is growing – up to 3.320.15 points. Shenzhen Component – up to 12.514.73.

Investors’ fears intensified after Jerome Powell said that a recession in the US economy is a very likely outcome. A sharp increase in interest rates can lead to an economic downturn.

At the same time, Powell acknowledged that the rate will continue to rise, but the Open Market Committee (FOMC) is monitoring the incoming data, which implies strict control over the situation, and monetary policy tightening will not be carried out solely on autopilot.

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July 4. Germany records first monthly trade deficit since 1991

The German authorities announced that in May, for the first time in 30 years, a trade deficit of almost €1 billion was formed.

According to the German Federal Statistical Office, in May, against the background of sanctions, the country's exports amounted to €125.8 billion, while imports reached €126.7 billion. For many years, Germany exported more goods than it imported into its territory. Analysts note that this is the first such case in the history of Germany since 1991.

The change in the economic situation in the country began after the start of the military special operation of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine and against the background of Western sanctions imposed in this regard.

After the introduction of restrictions, the trade turnover between Germany and Russia sharply decreased: in March exports decreased by 62%, in April – by another 9.9%. The recovery of indicators was noted only in May – exports increased by 29.4%. At the same time, imports from Russia to Germany continue to decline: in April it fell by 16.4%, in May – by another 9.8% (up to € 3.3 billion). One of the most significant areas in which there has been a reduction is the energy market.

Recall that as part of the package of anti-Russian sanctions, Germany decided to abandon the purchase of oil from the Russian Federation, and now the country is urgently looking for ways to replace Russian gas. However, it is still impossible to completely abandon Russian raw materials: without gas supplies from Russia to Germany, there will be enough for only 1.5 months.

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