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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Two pieces of news this morning distill the competing forces acting on oil markets these days.

The big picture: Geopolitical risks in the vital oil producing and transit region can cause short-lived price spikes, but at the same time, a drumbeat of bearish economic news is preventing a sustained price rise.

Today's dueling state of play:

  • Iranian officials claimed that "two missiles struck an Iranian tanker traveling through the Red Sea off the coast of Saudi Arabia," per AP.
  • International Energy Agency cut its 2020 demand growth forecast to 1.2 million barrels per day, down from 1.3 million barrels per day in their prior estimate. They cited lower economic growth forecasts for a number of countries, and a "technical adjustment" also cut their 2019 oil demand growth estimate.

Where it stands: While prices are rising Friday morning as a result of the attack, they're starting from a baseline that's below where they were before last month's strikes against Saudi Aramco facilities.

  • Brent crude was trading around $59.77 and WTI at $54.20.

What they're saying: "Intuitively, the precision attacks on Saudi Arabia and the possibility of a repeat should keep the market on edge. There should be talk of a geopolitical premium on top of oil prices," IEA said in their monthly report this morning.

  • "For now, though, there is little sign of this with security fears having been overtaken by weaker demand growth and the prospect of a wave of new oil production coming on stream," the report adds.

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Data: Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index; Chart: Axios Visuals

Polling for the Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index suggests that as the Delta variant ebbed over the last month, job security improved for lower-income Americans.

The big picture: As a result of the improving environment, the Inequality Index this month declined to its lowest point since April — reversing a significant spike in September.

White House unveils landmark reports on climate links to security, migration

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Biden administration on Thursday released a sweeping set of assessments on climate change's threat to national security and its role in fueling migration.

Why it matters: One of the key products, a formal National Intelligence Estimate on climate change, marks the first time all 18 elements of the U.S. intelligence community have released a consensus report on the topic.

Scoop: Garland defends DOJ's handling of Jan. 6 probe

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland will tell the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday that federal prosecutors "are doing exactly what they are expected to do" in seeking accountability for the "intolerable assault" on the Capitol on Jan. 6, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Allies of former President Trump, including Republican congressmen, have criticized the department's treatment rioters charged with crimes, and sought to recast the insurrection as a righteous protest. Garland's testimony with be his first appearance before the panel.