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Geopolitical tension including the prospect of U.S. strikes against Syria helped to send crude oil prices to their highest levels in over three years during trading yesterday.

Expand chart
Data: Money.net; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

What they're saying: In a note Thursday, a Barclays analyst predicted that geopolitical events could keep Brent prices above $70 over the next couple of months, though they see a downward trend in the second half of the year. "Over the near term, however, prices continue to benefit from a perfect storm of stagnant supply, geopolitical risk, and a harsh winter," Michael Cohen writes.

One level deeper: Flashpoints and events affecting the market included President Trump's tweeted warning Russia that missiles "will be coming" in Syria in response to the apparent chemical attack, and reports that Yemen's Houthi rebels fired more missiles into Saudi Arabia.

What might be next: In a note late last night, RBC Capital Markets analysts raised the prospect of the Syrian conflict spreading beyond the country's borders, and also said the conflict in Yemen "presents a clear risk to regional energy supplies given attempted attacks on Saudi targets."

  • "Both situations present clear risks and may add a ‘fear premium’ or even put physical barrels at risk in the case of Yemen," they write, reiterating that the U.S. is likely to end waivers of Iran sanctions next month and ultimately abandon the nuclear deal.

Where things stand this morning: Per MarketWatch, "oil futures wavered Thursday, holding near three-year highs as investors kept a nervous watch on Middle Eastern events."

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
5 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”