Health workers gather to form a human chain reading 'SOS' during a protest in Venezuela. Photo: Federico Parra/AFP via Getty Images

The International Energy Agency said Thursday that the global crude market is entering a "very crucial period" as U.S. sanctions against Iran loom and the country's exports have already dropped. Oh, and Venezuela is still collapsing.

The big picture: There's certainly enough crude from elsewhere sloshing around right now.

  • OPEC supplies actually hit a 9-month high of 32.6 million barrels per day last month, and the ramp-up "outweighed a substantial reduction in Iran and a further fall in Venezuela," IEA said in its monthly oil market report.
  • In fact, global supplies hit a record 100 million barrels per day in August.

Yes, but: The Paris-based agency still sees the market "tightening up." And there are uncertainties about where additional barrels will come from if Venezuela and Iranian supplies keep falling as expected.

  • OPEC countries have a combined 2.7 million barrels per day in spare capacity, but it's unclear how much is readily available.
  • Brazilian production has not grown as much as expected.
  • U.S. production is growing (more on that below), but infrastructure constraints could limit how much companies can boost output beyond existing plans.
  • Libyan production has been up lately, but it's a fragile place.

The bottom line: Things could get rocky and oil prices, which for Brent have been in the $70–$80 range since April, could be "tested." IEA states:

"The situation in Venezuela could deteriorate even faster, strife could return to Libya and the 53 days to 4 November will reveal more decisions taken by countries and companies with respect to Iranian oil purchases. It remains to be seen if other producers decide to increase their production."

State of the market: Traders seem to be responding to the currently robust supply picture. Per MarketWatch:

"Oil futures fell in early Thursday trade as a report showed production among OPEC members surged in August, pushing global inventories to a record."

Go deeper: Reuters breaks down the IEA report in detail here.

Go deeper

Trump says he intends to give RNC speech on White House lawn

President Trump speaking to reporters on South Lawn in July. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump told the New York Post on Thursday that he plans to deliver his Republican National Convention speech from the White House lawn, despite bipartisan criticism of the optics and legality of the location.

Why it matters: Previous presidents avoided blurring staged campaign-style events — like party conventions — with official business of governing on the White House premises, per Politico.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 20,739,537 — Total deaths: 751,910— Total recoveries: 12,895,242Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,242,184 — Total deaths: 166,971 — Total recoveries: 1,755,225 — Total tests: 64,612,034Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.

Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Antibody drugs and various medicine cocktails against the coronavirus are progressing and may provide some relief before vaccines.

The big picture: Everyone wants to know how and when they can return to "normal" life, as vaccines are not expected to be ready for most Americans for at least a year. Two therapies are known to be helpful, and more could be announced by late September, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci tells Axios.