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An oil pump in Los Angeles. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Crude oil prices tumbled by several dollars to their lowest levels in over a year on Friday.

Why it matters: The latest slide will fuel the already intense focus on the December 6-7 OPEC meeting, where the cartel and allied producers — notably Russia — will decide on potential output cuts aimed at tightening the market.

The big picture: Prices are tumbling as traders respond to surging U.S. production, Saudi Arabia's announcement of higher production this month, the prospect of weakening demand growth, and White House pressure on Saudi Arabia to keep prices low.

By the numbers: Brent crude fell by almost $4 per barrel Friday and as of late morning was slightly under $59 per barrel, the first time it has slid below $60 since October of last year.

  • WTI, the U.S. benchmark, lost several dollars and is also at a year-long low at around $51. Oil prices have been on a generally downward trend for six weeks.

The intrigue: President Trump has recently been celebrating the price declines and putting public pressure on Saudi Arabia to keep prices low — at the same moment he's signaling a hands-off approach, for now, over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"One realises the president is pushing to keep prices lower for longer and now he has some political leverage against Saudi Arabia," said Petromatrix analyst Olivier Jakob, quoted in the Financial Times.

But, but, but: via Reuters, Morgan Stanley analysts see pretty good odds of an OPEC agreement that boosts prices again.

"We expect that OPEC will manage the market in 2019 and assess the probability of an agreement to reduce production at around 2-in-3. In that scenario, Brent prices likely recover back into the $70s," analysts Martijn Rats and Amy Sergeant said in a note.

Go deeper:

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Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.

Bush labels Clyburn the “savior” for Democrats

House Majority Whip James Clyburn takes a selfie Wednesday with former President George W. Bush. Photo: Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush credited Rep. James Clyburn with being the "savior" of the Democratic Party, telling the South Carolinian at Wednesday's inauguration his endorsement allowed Joe Biden to win the party's presidential nomination.

Why it matters: The nation's last two-term Republican president also said Clyburn's nod allowed for the transfer of power, because he felt only Biden had the ability to unseat President Trump.