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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The growth of coronavirus cases is "casting a shadow" over oil's recovery despite the partial demand revival and supply cuts that have considerably tightened the market in recent months, the International Energy Agency said Friday.

Why it matters: IEA's monthly report confirms what analysts have seen coming for a long time: Failure to contain the virus is a huge threat to the market rebound that has seen prices grow, but remain at a perilous level for many companies.

  • Those fears are now being realized. In particular, the surge of cases in the U.S., the world's largest oil consumer, is consequential for the global market.
  • The price recovery has largely stalled over the last month and prices are falling Friday morning as the market absorbs the IEA analysis and glum news about the pandemic, which threatens the demand comeback.
  • Friday morning, Brent was trading around $42.19 and WTI at $39.40.

What they're saying: "The market started realizing what the impact of the continuously rising COVID-19 cases may be for the U.S. and its oil demand and corrected gains of previous days," Rystad Energy analyst Louise Dickson said in a note.

What's new: IEA notes they have reduced their demand expectations in several regions due to rising cases and "the decision by several states to freeze or roll back the easing of lockdown measures."

  • "Similar reductions apply to Brazil, Russia and Saudi Arabia, among other countries," they write.

By the numbers: With the caveat that things are fluid, IEA currently estimates that full-year oil demand this year will be 7.9 million barrels per day below 2019 levels.

  • That's a slightly smaller collapse than they previously projected, but that's not a statement about recovery going forward, but instead a reflection that the second-quarter decline was slightly less than expected.
  • The report also takes stock of the remarkable decline in global production that has tightened the market. Global supply in June was at its lowest level in nine years.
  • "Robust compliance with the OPEC+ output deal and steep declines from other producers, led by the United States and Canada, has cut world oil output by nearly 14 [million bpd] since April," IEA said.

The bottom line: "While the oil market has undoubtedly made progress since 'Black April', the large, and in some countries, accelerating number of COVID-19 cases is a disturbing reminder that the pandemic is not under control and the risk to our market outlook is almost certainly to the downside," IEA said.

Go deeper

Oct 16, 2020 - Health

U.S. reports over 63,000 daily COVID-19 cases

A health worker handling a coronavirus test sample Oct. 15 in Roxbury, Mass. Photo: Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

The U.S. reported 63,172 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the nation's highest daily count since July 31 when it saw more than 66,000 new cases in a single day, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

Why it matters: Over 37,000 people are currently being hospitalized due to the virus in the U.S., while the country reported 951 new deaths from the virus. COVID-19 infections jumped by almost 17% over the past week as the number of new cases increased in 38 states and Washington, D.C.

Go deeper: The United States' stubbornly high coronavirus death rate

Updated 2 hours ago - World

17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

American officials and authorities in Haiti are working to try and free 17 hostages from a U.S.-based missionary group who were kidnapped in Port-au-Prince over the weekend, AP reported Monday.

The latest: Christian Aid Ministries said in a statement Sunday, "The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children." The Ohio-based organization said they were on a trip to visit an orphanage when they were kidnapped Saturday.

China's economic growth slows

A worker assembles heavy truck engines in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, on Monday. Photo: Long We/Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

China's economy grew 4.9% in the third quarter of 2021 compared with a year earlier, the country's National Bureau of Statistics announced Monday.

Why it matters: The gross domestic product growth in the July-September period in the world’s second-largest economy marked the "weakest pace since the third quarter of 2020 and slowing from 7.9% in the second quarter," Reuters notes.