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Photo: Yegor Aleyev/TASS via Getty Image

Global oil demand growth from January through May was the slowest for that period since 2008, and the "situation is becoming even more uncertain" as the U.S.-China trade fight heats up, the International Energy Agency said Friday.

Why it matters: Its closely-watched monthly report provides fresh evidence of how the global economic slowdown is weighing on oil markets. Prices are at their lowest levels since January, despite tensions in the Middle East that typically put upward pressure on the market. "Economic woes hold sway over geopolitics," it said.

But, but, but: Crude oil prices moved up back up somewhat on Friday, "supported by expectations of more OPEC production cuts," Reuters notes. The global benchmark Brent crude was trading above $58-per-barrel on Friday morning.

Where it stands: The IEA again trimmed its overall demand growth forecasts for 2019 and 2020. The Paris-based agency now sees oil demand growing by 1.1 million barrels per day this year and 1.3 million barrels per day next year.

  • "The outlook is fragile with a greater likelihood of a downward revision than an upward one," the report notes.
  • The increase of 520,000 barrels per day in the January through May stretch was the weakest in 11 years.

What they're saying: "Economic recession risk and further escalation of the U.S.-China trade war are key concerns in the near term," the consultancy Rystad Energy said in a note.

  • "Oil prices are swept up in stock market and commodity losses due to rising concern about trade disputes, the health of the global economy and weak oil demand," IEA's report states.

Go deeper: The IEA's case against peak oil demand

Go deeper

Updated 6 mins ago - Health

U.K. first nation to clear Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for mass rollout

A health care worker during the phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial by the Pfizer and BioNTech in Ankara, Turkey, in October. Photo: Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's government announced Wednesday it's approved Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, which "will be made available across the U.K. from next week."

Why it matters: The U.K. has beaten the U.S. to become the first Western country to give emergency approval for a vaccine against a virus that's killed nearly 1.5 million people globally.

2 hours ago - World

NYT: Biden won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.