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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The International Energy Agency this morning cut its estimate for the pace of global oil demand recovery from the depths of the pandemic-fueled collapse, and warned that "uncertainty created by COVID-19 shows little sign of abating."

Driving the news: The agency now projects that full-year 2020 global demand will be 8.4 million barrels per day less than in 2019, compared to 8.1 mbd in last month's estimate.

  • In its monthly market analysis, the agency has cut its demand growth estimate by 400,000 barrels per day for the second half of the year.

Why it matters: The latest revision shows how the pandemic will continue to weigh on oil prices, which are higher than their April nadir, but have also been largely stuck in place for months and lost ground over the past week.

What they're saying: "As national lockdowns eased there was an initial sharp recovery in demand led by gasoline, but the curve has flattened out and it is becoming increasingly apparent that COVID-19 will stay with us for some time," the agency said.

The bottom line: "Global oil demand has accelerated rapidly since its low point in April. However, the path ahead is treacherous amid surging COVID-19 cases in many parts of the world," IEA said.

Threat level: In July and August combined, 13 more North American oil-and-gas producers and 19 more oilfield services companies filed for bankruptcy protection, per the latest tally from the law firm Haynes and Boone.

  • "Without any near term horizon hope for improving economic conditions for U.S. producers, it is reasonable to expect that a substantial number of producers will continue to seek protection from creditors in bankruptcy before this year is over," the firm said.

Go deeper

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Aug 6, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Coronavirus hastens Big Oil's Atlantic divide on climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The pandemic is accelerating a divide between European and American oil companies over climate change and clean energy.

Why it matters: Bottom lines and investor returns will be vastly different across the corporate spectrum depending on how aggressively the world tackles climate change in the coming decades.

Biden picks Warren allies to lead SEC, CFPB

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has selected FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Obama-era Wall Street regulator Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Why it matters: Both picks are progressive allies of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and viewed as likely to take aggressive steps to regulate big business.

The perils of organizing underground

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Researchers see one bright spot as far-right extremists turn to private and encrypted online platforms: Friction.

Between the lines: For fringe organizers, those platforms may provide more security than open social networks, but they make it harder to recruit new members.

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