-Russian Central Bank keeps
The Central Bank of Russia decided to keep the interest rate at 7.75 percent as predicted by the majority of analysts.
Since the beginning of 2015, the Central Bank of Russia, which has gradually lowered interest rates from 17 percent, lowered its policy rate to 7.25 percent in March 2018.
According to the Central Bank of Russia’s statement last week, the policy rate remained unchanged as the risks of inflation continue due to the increased VAT rate in the country.
The government increased the VAT rate this year in Russia from 18 to 20 percent in order to ease budgetary pressure.
The Bank also noted that ongoing uncertainties over the future of external risks and concluded that 2019 economic growth is expected to be range between 1.2 and 1.7 percent.
In spite of the oil price recovery, the bank said the risks of global oil supply exceeding demand remains high in 2019.
-Oil trade between Venezuela and Russia may increase
Venezuelan Oil Minister and the head of state oil company PDVSA, Manuel Quevedo, declared last week that they are fulfilling their obligations to Russian oil company Rosneft, adding that they want to increase oil supplies to the company.
He also stated that Venezuela is continuing to collaborate with its current partners, and wanted to intense cooperation with China as well as Russia.
Rosneft made pre-payments totaling $6.5 billion to PDVSA in recent years for oil, the production of which PDVSA plans to meet.
PDVSA's remaining debt to Rosneft was down to $2.3 billion as at the end of 2018.
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said recently that Rosneft was breaking U.S.-imposed sanctions because it continues to buy oil from Venezuela.
Russia's Foreign Ministry explained in a statement that the U.S. has been imposing sanctions on Rosneft since 2014.
"The threats of Pompeo towards Rosneft are meaningless as it already imposes sanctions. The company continues to carry out its activities successfully," he said.