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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

Hospital prices' steady rise

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.

37 mins ago - World

Myanmar military fires UN ambassador after anti-coup speech

Photo: Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Myanmar's military regime on Saturday fired the country's Ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, a day after he gave a pro-democracy speech asking UN member nations to publicly condemn the Feb. 1 coup, The New York Times reports.

Details: State television said the ambassador had "betrayed the country and spoken for an unofficial organization which doesn’t represent the country and had abused the power and responsibilities of an ambassador."

Scoop: Biden admin call on Putin pipeline provokes GOP anger

Putin chairs a video meeting in July 2020. Photo: Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

A briefing between the State Department and congressional staff over Vladimir Putin's Russia-Germany gas pipeline got tense this week, with Biden officials deflecting questions about why they hadn't moved faster and more aggressively with sanctions to stop its completion.

  • The Biden officials also denied negotiating with the Germans over a potential side deal to allow the pipeline to be finished.