Russia will seek payment in rubles for gas sales from "unfriendly" countries

On Wednesday, the US stock market fell on the back of "hawkish" statements by the Federal Reserve (Fed) members and increased fears of rising inflation in the US due to rising oil prices. San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester were the other FOMC policymakers who indicated that the central bank plans to raise interest rates on a larger scale at its May meeting. Analysts on Wednesday updated their Fed forecast in light of Powell's comments and expect a 50 basis point rate hike at both in May and June meetings. At the close of the stock market yesterday, the Dow Jones index (US30) decreased by 1.29%, the S&P 500 index (US500) fell by 1.23%, and the NASDAQ technology index (US100) lost 1.32%. All three major indices closed the day in minus.

Major European indices closed in the red zone yesterday. German DAX (DE30) decreased by 1.31%, French CAC 40 (FR40) lost 1.17%, Spanish IBEX 35 (ES35) fell by 1.87% and British FTSE 100 (UK100) decreased by 0.22%. Investors continue to monitor the changing situation around Ukraine and are waiting for US President Joe Biden's visit to Europe. Biden is expected to attend the G7 and NATO summits today and speak at the European Council meeting. This meeting will lead to new sanctions against Russia, harming the Eurozone economy. UK Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak announced tax cuts for workers and lower fuel duties following inflation data, seeking to mitigate severe cost-of-living cuts amid rapidly rising prices and slowing economic growth.

The US will announce new sanctions against Russian politicians and businessmen on March 24, the White House said.

Russia, in turn, compiled a list of "unfriendly" countries, corresponding to those that imposed sanctions. The list of countries includes the United States, European Union member states, Great Britain, Japan, Canada, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, and Ukraine.

Russia will seek payment in rubles for gas sales from "unfriendly" countries, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday. Russian gas accounts for about 40% of Europe's total consumption, and EU gas imports from Russia this year have ranged from 200 million to 800 million euros ($880 million) a day. The possibility that a change in the currency could cause disorder in this trade led wholesale gas prices in some European countries to rise by 30% on Wednesday. Major Russian gas importers such as Eni, Shell, BP, RWE, and Uniper declined to comment. As of January 27, 58% of natural gas sales to Europe and other countries were euros. US dollars accounted for about 39% of gross sales and sterling for about 3%. The European Commission has said it plans to cut the EU's dependence on Russian gas by two-thirds this year and end dependence on Russian fuel supplies by 2030.

The EU countries have not agreed to impose sanctions on the Russian energy sector, given their dependence, unlike the US and UK. The Central Bank of Russia is ready to provide additional liquidity to foreign exchange markets, allowing European clients and banks to receive the required amount of rubles when selling. However, there are questions about whether Russia's decision would violate the contract rules, which were agreed in euros. "It would violate the payment rules included in the current contracts," a senior Polish government source said, adding that Poland does not intend to sign new contracts with Gazprom after their current long-term agreement expires later this year. A German official said Putin's demand is a violation of supply contracts.

Vladimir Putin confirmed that China would be Russia's main ally in the fight against Western sanctions. After the president's meeting with the government on March 23, it became clear that Russia and China would work together to push the US dollar out of the world economy.

One of President Vladimir Putin's closest allies warned the United States on Wednesday that the world could slide into a nuclear dystopia. According to Dmitry Medvedev, who is now deputy secretary of the Russian Security Council, the United States joined forces with its allies to destroy Russia, just as it did with the Soviet Union in 1991. Medvedev added that the Kremlin would never allow Russia to be destroyed and warned Washington that if the US continued to pursue its destructive plan for Russia, the world could face a dystopian crisis that would end in a "big nuclear explosion."

The Moscow Exchange resumed trading in stocks after a nearly month-long break. The Russian stock market was up more than 10% at the opening.

Oil prices jumped by 5% yesterday as disruptions to Russian and Kazakh oil exports via the Caspian Pipeline Consortium pipeline fueled fears of a global supply shortage. Russia exports 4 to 5 million barrels of oil every day, making it the world's second-largest exporter after Saudi Arabia. The United States and its allies have imposed tough sanctions on Russia, resulting in a severe supply shortage. Crude oil inventories are also shrinking, making the situation much worse.

Yesterday, gold prices jumped sharply due to falling US Treasuries. The short-term outlook for gold from analytical houses now ranges from negative to stable. There are no real growth prospects.

Asian stock indices closed on the green territory yesterday. Japan's Nikkei 225 (JP225) gained 3.00%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng (HK50) added 1.21%, and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 (AU200) jumped by 0.50%. But investors remain concerned about accelerating global inflation and slowing economic growth.

Main market quotes:

S&P 500 (F) (US500) 4,456.24 -55.37 (-1.23%)

Dow Jones (US30) 34,358.50 -448.96 (-1.29%)

DAX (DE40) 14,283.65 -189.55 (-1.31%)

FTSE 100 (UK100) 7,460.63 -16.09 (-0.22%)

USD Index 98.62 +0.13 (+0.13%)

Important events for today:
  • – Australia Manufacturing PMI (m/m) at 00:00 (GMT+2);
  • – Australia Services PMI (m/m) at 00:00 (GMT+2);
  • – Japan Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes at 01:50 (GMT+2);
  • – Japan Manufacturing PMI (m/m) at 02:30 (GMT+2);
  • – Japan Services PMI (m/m) at 02:30 (GMT+2);
  • – Switzerland SNB Interest Rate Decision at 10:30 (GMT+2);
  • – Switzerland SNB Monetary Policy Assessment at 10:30 (GMT+2);
  • – Eurozone Germany Manufacturing PMI (m/m) at 10:30 (GMT+2);
  • – Eurozone Germany Services PMI (m/m) at 10:30 (GMT+2);
  • – Eurozone ECB Economic Bulletin at 11:00 (GMT+2);
  • – Eurozone Manufacturing PMI (m/m) at 11:00 (GMT+2);
  • – Eurozone Services PMI (m/m) at 11:00 (GMT+2);
  • – UK Manufacturing PMI (m/m) at 11:30 (GMT+2);
  • – UK Services PMI (m/m) at 11:30 (GMT+2);
  • – Switzerland SNB Press Conference at 11:30 (GMT+2);
  • – Eurozone EU Leaders Summit at 12:00 (GMT+2);
  • – US Core Durable Goods Orders (m/m) at 14:30 (GMT+2);
  • – US Initial Jobless Claims (w/w) at 14:30 (GMT+2);
  • – US FOMC Member Waller’s Speaks at 15:10 (GMT+2);
  • – US Manufacturing PMI (m/m) at 15:45 (GMT+2);
  • – US Services PMI (m/m) at 15:45 (GMT+2);
  • – US Natural Gas Storage (w/w) at 16:30 (GMT+2);
  • – US FOMC Member Bostic’s Speaks at 17:00 (GMT+2).

by Justforex, 2022.03.24

We advise you to get acquainted with the daily forecasts for the major currency pairs.

This article reflects a personal opinion and should not be interpreted as an investment advice, and/or offer, and/or a persistent request for carrying out financial transactions, and/or a guarantee, and/or a forecast of future events.

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