Jan 12, 2018

Oil briefly climbs above $70-per-barrel for first time in 3 years

Photo: Billal Bensalem / Getty

Brent crude oil prices rose above $70-per-barrel for the first time in a little over three years in trading yesterday before falling back slightly, while WTI, the U.S. crude benchmark, also rose to its highest levels since late 2014.

  • The latest: Via the Wall Street Journal, “Oil prices slipped off a three-year high on Friday after China reported a fall in monthly crude imports.”
  • Why it matters: Yes, prices remain modest compared to the first half of the decade, which saw prices above $100 in several years. But if prices keep climbing (a big if, to be sure), it could provide a political lift for the White House as it pushes for expanded industry drilling access.

More broadly, higher prices will come as a relief to petro-states including Saudi Arabia (especially as it plans the massive IPO of state oil giant Aramco) and Russia that rely heavily on crude revenues for federal spending.

What's next: Keep an eye on the next round of federal forecasts next month to see if the Energy Information Administration again boosts its U.S. production outlook.

  • As we reported here, this week EIA boosted its 2018 outlook by several hundred thousand barrels to project that U.S. production will average 10.3 million barrels per day this year and crack the 11 million mark late next year.
  • The prior annual average record is 9.6 million in 1970.

Be smart: A note yesterday from RBC Capital Markets analyst Michael Tran said global crude market fundamentals have reached their "healthiest state in several years."

  • Yes, but: "While the fundamental backdrop remains constructive, we believe that it is premature to expect further upside to be sustainable, at least until the market gains a better grasp of the pace of US production growth given that prices have trended well into the self-described sweet spot for shale producers," Tran cautions.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 722,435 — Total deaths: 33,997 — Total recoveries: 151,991.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m.. ET: 142,502 — Total deaths: 2,506 — Total recoveries: 4,856.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Infections number tops 140,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now infected over 142,000 people in the U.S. — more than any other country in the world, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: COVID-19 had killed over 2,400 people in the U.S. by Sunday night. That's far fewer than in Italy, where over 10,000 people have died — accounting for a third of the global death toll. The number of people who've recovered from the virus in the U.S. exceeded 2,600 Sunday evening.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: Cases surge past 720,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now more than 720,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 33,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health