Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The crude oil price recovery has hit the skids, a gloomy sign for U.S. producers, some of whom are risking bankruptcy.

What's happening: Oil prices are on track for their first weekly decline in well over a month, per Reuters.

  • Prices for WTI, the U.S. benchmark, are trading at roughly $36.45 this morning, about where they were late yesterday afternoon following two days of declines.
  • "Second wave coronavirus risks on crushing hopes for a steady global economic recovery that was spearheading prospects of improving crude demand," Oanda analyst Edward Moya said in a note yesterday.
  • He cited the "supply glut overhang and diminishing crude demand expectations."

The big picture: "The market has shrugged off a pledge by OPEC+ to extend record output cuts, with sentiment souring this week after the Federal Reserve warned of prolonged damage to the economy by the pandemic and U.S. inventories reached record highs," Bloomberg reports.

Threat level: Prices remain below what it typically takes for companies to drill new wells and in some cases even cover costs for operating existing wells (check out this Dallas Fed survey for a snapshot).

What's next: A Barclays note sees prices starting to rise again eventually, but expect continued near-term headwinds despite the demand revival and supply cuts.

  • They see the pace of the recovery slowing down after the sharp rise from April's troughs.
  • Their note projects U.S. prices averaging $34-per-barrel in the third quarter and $40-per-barrel in Q4, with continued increases throughout next year.

Go deeper: Coronavirus drives oil to a "rapid and brutal adjustment"

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Sep 18, 2020 - Health

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Data: Whaley, et al., 2020, "Nationwide Evaluation of Health Care Prices Paid by Private Health Plans"; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Employers and private insurers paid hospitals, on average, 247% of what Medicare paid for the same services in 2018, per a new RAND study.

Why it matters: We all pay for this giant gap in prices through our premiums and lost wages.

Trump says he expects to announce a Supreme Court nominee "next week"

President Trump speaking prior to his departure from the White House on Sept. 19. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump said Saturday he expects to announce a nominee for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's vacant Supreme Court seat “next week” and that the person will “most likely" be a woman.

What he's saying: "If somebody were to ask me now, I would say that a woman would be in first place, yes. The choice of a woman, I would say, would certainly be appropriate," the president told pool reporters.

Susan Collins says Senate should postpone Supreme Court vote

Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Tom Williams/Getty Images

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said in a statement Saturday she believes whoever is elected in the 2020 presidential race should pick the nominee to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat.

Why it matters: Collins will be key in how the nomination process plays out. As one of the most centrist Senate Republicans, whether or not the Senate confirms Trump's SCOTUS nominee could hinge on her vote.