Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The commentary atop the IEA's monthly oil market report a week ago was headlined "A floor under prices?" and said Brent crude "seems to" have found one around $60-per-barrel. That question mark, in retrospect, is doing lots of work.

Where it stands: Prices plummeted by several dollars per barrel in trading Tuesday, the latest sign of volatility that's carrying the day despite the OPEC+ efforts to stabilize the market.

  • Brent crude fell to roughly $56-per-barrel, while WTI, the U.S. benchmark, dropped sharply into the $46-per-barrel range.
  • But they're more or less holding steady on Wednesday morning, trading around $56.58 for Brent and $46.85 for WTI.

Why it matters: The falling prices create challenges for petro-states and could hinder the U.S. shale patch if the doldrums remain.

  • Here's Bloomberg: "The plunge in U.S. oil prices has wells in some parts of the Permian Basin below break-even levels, threatening to put the brakes on the record flow from the prolific field."

The big picture: Concerns about a slowdown in economic growth and trade battles eating into demand, the robust amount of crude sloshing around, and broader market woes are all creating downward pressure on prices.

  • Brent has come down from $86 in early October, its highest level in 4 years, while WTI has come down by around $29 since then.

What they're saying: “The market is experiencing price carnage, maximum pain and considerable downside pressure,” Robin Bieber of the brokerage PVM oil tells Reuters.

  • "Enveloping supply concerns is the increasing likelihood of a protracted economic downturn in China that continues to stoke fears of demand slowdown," Stephen Innes of the trading platform Oanda said in a note quoted by MarketWatch.

What's next: Late this morning the Energy Information Administration will release its closely watched weekly data on U.S. oil storage levels.

Go deeper: Oil prices volatile after OPEC-Russia deal

Go deeper

Supreme Court blocks Alabama curbside voting measure

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday evening blocked a lower court order that would have allowed voters to cast ballots curbside at Alabama polling places on Election Day.

Whit it matters: With 13 days until Election Day, the justices voted 5-3 to overturn a lower court judge's ruling in favor of a lawsuit arguing that curbside voting would "violate federal laws designed to protect America’s most marginalized citizens" during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer dissented.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

Updated 43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election.
  2. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  3. Health: New York reports most COVID cases since MayStudies show drop in coronavirus death rate — The next wave is gaining steam.
  4. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year.
  5. World: Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million cases.

U.S. officials: Iran and Russia aim to interfere in election

Iran and Russia have obtained voter registration information that can be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced at a press conference Wednesday evening.

Why it matters: The revelation comes roughly two weeks before Election Day. Ratcliffe said Iran has sent threatening emails to Democratic voters this week in states across the U.S. and spread videos claiming that people can vote more than once.