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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Crude oil is trading at its lowest levels in over five months as new cases of COVID-19 are rising globally, a bearish sign for the recovery of petroleum demand.

Why it matters: The stalled (and now reversing) price recovery is ominous for the industry, including indebted U.S. producers that were struggling even before the crisis. This year has brought a slew of bankruptcies.

The big picture, via the Financial Times: "The gloomy start to the week came after Boris Johnson, UK prime minister, announced on Saturday tight national restrictions in England just days after Germany and France enacted similar measures."

What they're saying: “Near-term oil fundamentals will continue to deteriorate until the unprecedented rise in COVID infections is brought under control,” PVM broker Stephen Brennock tells Reuters.

What we're watching: Whether OPEC+ will revisit plans to further ease their joint supply curbs at the start of 2021.

Go deeper

Jan 4, 2021 - World

England to enter 3rd national lockdown as cases surge at record pace

Johnson getting his temperature taken. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/WPA Pool/Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that England will enter a six-week lockdown, as the spread of a highly contagious new coronavirus variant threatens to overwhelm the National Health Service.

Why it matters: It's England's third national lockdown, following the initial March restrictions during the start of the pandemic and a four-week "circuit-breaker" in November.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."