Dec 21, 2018

Oil prices continue to fall after 10-week decline

Photo: Katja Buchholz/Getty Images

Oil prices lost more ground Friday morning, the latest declines in a remarkable 10-week slide that's greased by concerns about softening demand and, thus far, largely resistant to OPEC's pledge to tighten the market.

The latest, per Reuters: "Oil prices fell to their lowest since the third quarter of 2017 on Friday, heading for losses of more than 10 percent in a week, as global oversupply kept buyers away from the market ahead of the long festive break."

  • Brent crude is trading at $53 around the time went this newsletter, while the U.S. benchmark WTI is in the mid-$45 range.

Threat level: The Houston Chronicle has a good look at the stakes for companies and workers in Texas, where shale production is surging, if WTI stays below $50 per barrel for an extended period.

  • The bottom line: "At $50 a barrel, growth flattens, energy economists said, and below $50, companies begin to scale back spending and hiring. If prices fall below $40, then another prolonged downturn could take hold."

What's next: Via MarketWatch, a price rebound could be in the offing.

"Oil's on track to suffer its worst quarterly loss in four years, but analysts expect prices for the commodity to give way to higher prices in 2019 as investment in the market and crude production slows," writes Myra Saefong.

The intrigue: The steep slide in prices since early October, back when Brent reached $86 per barrel, means that what seemed impossible just weeks ago now looks very possible.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,192,028 — Total deaths: 64,549 — Total recoveries: 246,148Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 305,820 — Total deaths: 8,291 — Total recoveries: 14,616Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. The virus is hitting poor, minority communities harder and upending childbirth.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August."
  5. Business updates: Restaurants step up for health care workers. Employees are pressuring companies to provide protections during coronavirus.
  6. Oil latest: Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Education update: Many college-age students won't get coronavirus relief checks.
  8. 1 🏀 thing: The WNBA postpones start of training camps and season.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 8,200, case count tops 300,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the coronavirus surpassed 8,100 in the U.S. on Saturday, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day for the past four days, since April 1.

The big picture: Trump said Saturday that America's "toughest week" is ahead. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the country should expect to see deaths continue to increase in the next week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: Spain tracks more cases than Italy

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Spain overtook Italy in its number of coronavirus cases on Saturday. The global death toll has surpassed 62,000, per Johns Hopkins data.

The latest: About half the planet's population is on lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis. Fatalities are exponentially increasing across Europe, with roughly half of deaths worldwide located in Italy and Spain.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health