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John Bolton. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump's removal of national security adviser John Bolton sent oil prices downward Tuesday after gains earlier in the day.

Why it matters: Removal of the hawkish Bolton raises the prospect of easing U.S.-Iran relations.

Where it stands: Brent crude futures were trading at $63.60 per barrel when the news hit and then tumbled by over $1, clawed back somewhat and then fell again, per Bloomberg data. Brent is currently trading in the mid-$62 range.

  • West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, also dropped quickly by over $1 and is now in the mid-$57 range.

What they're saying: "This is a knee-jerk reaction given that Bolton has been so adversarial with Iran," Matt Smith of the firm ClipperData tells CNN.

But, but, but: It's unclear to what extent Bolton's exit may lead to any changes in the U.S. posture.

  • In a note Tuesday, ClearView Energy Partners points out that the Bolton era included U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, public criticism of Russia and sanctions against Venezuela.
  • However, "we would caution against the a priori conclusion that a post-Bolton administration might materially pivot from those positions," the company writes, because it's unclear who will replace him and other hawkish Trump officials remain in place.

The intrigue: Separately, oil demand growth estimates in the U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest outlook released today are also bearish for prices.

  • "EIA expects the rate of consumption growth for global liquid fuels to fall below 1 million barrels per day in 2019 for the first time since 2011," the EIA reports.
  • EIA sees consumption growing by 900,000 barrels per day, which is 100,000 less than its prior outlook.

Go deeper

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2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats target billionaires

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

After failing to get a deal on other planned tax increases, key Senate Democrats are pivoting to a billionaires' income tax to pay for President Biden's social spending.

The big picture: No advanced economy has attempted anything similar on such a scale.

Anti-abortion activists' Supreme Court dreams are coming true

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela. Photos: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

This is the moment the conservative legal movement has been building toward for decades: The solidly conservative Supreme Court is about to hear two major abortion cases within a month of each other.

Why it matters: All of this is likely to end with significant new restrictions on abortion and a clear path for Republican-led states to win the next big abortion cases, too — the culmination of a long and bitter fight for control of the judiciary.

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