USOIL Rises As Markets Monitor Russia, Iran News

  • USOil

Russia Sanctions

Western countries have announced increasingly harsher measures against Russia for invading Ukraine. The European Union announced over the weekend a ban on the transactions of Russia's central bank and a freeze all its assets [1], with similar move from the White House yesterday.

Furthermore, the EU decided to exclude important Russian banks from the SWIFT international payment system. Western countries have refrained so far from an outright ban on Russian oil and gas, as this would inflict significant pain on them too, but the SWIFT cut-off is likely to have an effect on the supply of energy.

Canada was the exception, as Prime Minister Trudeau announced his intention "to ban all imports of Russian crude oil", although the move is mostly symbolic, since based on the PM's own comments "Canada has barely imported any Russian oil and gas in recent years" [2]

The war in Ukraine has entered its sixth day and yesterday's peace talks between the two countries did not produce any major breakthrough. It remains to be seen if the talks will resume, while Ukranian President Zelenskyy accused Russia of continuing to bomb his country during yesterday's negotiations. [3]

Corporate Actions

So far, we have seen some high-profile companies rethinking their exposure in Russia and acting based on recent sanctions, with energy giants BP and Shell announcing their intentions to exit their business in the country.

BP said on Sunday that it will sell its nearly 20% stake in Rosneft [4], while Shell announced on Monday its intention to exit its joint ventures with Gazprom and related entities [5].

Mastercard put up a statement yesterday, saying that it had blocked multiple financial institutions from its payment network, as a result of sanctions against Russia. [6]

Iran Nuclear Talks

Western countries and Iran had restarted their discussions in February, to revive the 2015 agreement for the containment of Iran's nuclear program, that would lift sanctions on the country's oil exports.

Although no deal has yet been reached, there have been statements during that period that have generated some optimism, with the latest coming today from spokesperson of the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Mr Saeed Khatibzadeh twitted that "A deal is at hand, if WH makes its mind. Iran is willing, but will not wait forever". [7]


The commodity had hit $100/barrel for the first time since July 2014 last week, after Russia's announcement of its attack on Ukraine, but retreated after that as markets digested the news and the then underwhelming sanctions.

Today however, it gains more than 2% as the war carries on for sixth day and sanctions against Russia have gotten harsher. USOIL closes in on $100/barrel again which can open the door for further gains towards and beyond 104.54.

Despite the upbeat mood this week the move seems a bit overextended from a technical prospective and its prior visit above $100, had sparked selling pressure. If this scenario gets repeated, it could lead the commodity towards 94.00, but a strong catalyst would be required for a larger decline below the EMA200 (at around 89.00) that had supported it the last time.

Investors now await the OPEC+ meeting tomorrow, to see if the group will stick to its monthly output plan and add another 400K barrels/day to the market.

Nikos Tzabouras

Senior Market Specialist

Nikos Tzabouras is a graduate of the Department of International & European Economic Studies at the Athens University of Economics and Business. He has a long time presence at FXCM, as he joined the company in 2011. He has served from multiple positions, but specializes in financial market analysis and commentary.

With his educational background in international relations, he emphasizes not only on Technical Analysis but also in Fundamental Analysis and Geopolitics – which have been having increasing impact on financial markets. He has longtime experience in market analysis and as a host of educational trading courses via online and in-person sessions and conferences.



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