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A portrait of Nicolás Maduro. Photo: Ruben Sevilla Brand/picture alliance via Getty Images

Oil prices fell on Wednesday as the fears of an escalation in Venezuela's political crisis faded, and U.S. inventories posted a surprise increase, adding to global supply. Crude prices have largely wiped out the politics-driven rally that began on April 22 after the U.S. decided to end sanctions waivers for countries importing Iranian oil.

What's happening: U.S.-backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó attempted to seize power from Nicolás Maduro on Tuesday, but has not been able to declare victory.

  • Whether or not the push to oust Maduro succeeds will "depend on the opposition’s ability to win over enough of the armed forces," writes Allison Fedirka, an analyst at Geopolitical Futures. "There are signs that members of the military are publicly supporting Guaidó, but it hasn't yet reached a critical mass."

The big picture: Fund managers have told Axios that they are starting to lose faith in the opposition's ability to topple Maduro alone, given an apparent increase of support from Russia, China and Cuba.

  • Oil traders look to be coming to the same conclusion.

What they're saying:

  • "We believe it will not be a quick fix to turn the state of the domestic oil industry around even with a new regime," commodity analysts at ING said in a note to clients.
  • "We simply don't know what is happening on the ground," Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets told CNN. "I would be cautious about saying we are in the final chapter."

The bottom line: If Maduro goes, it will likely take years until Venezuela's oil production is operating at anywhere near its previous capacity (it is currently producing oil at a 70-year low). And it's looking less likely Maduro is going.

Go deeper: What's next for Venezuela's oil sector

Go deeper

20 mins ago - Health

White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5-11

Charles Muro,age 13, is inoculated by Nurse Karen Pagliaro at Hartford Healthcares mass vaccination center at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Photo: JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Wednesday released its plan to vaccinate children between the ages of 5 and 11, pending authorization from the Food and Drug Administration of the first COVID-19 shot for that age group.

The big picture: The White House said it has secured enough vaccine supply to equip more than 25,000 pediatric and primary care offices, hundreds of school and community health clinics, as well as tens of thousands of pharmacies to administer the shots.

27 mins ago - Sports

Where it stands: Weed policies by U.S. sports league

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With public support for marijuana legalization nearing unanimity, and more athletes using cannabis to treat pain, the four major U.S. sports leagues continue to reduce restrictions and punishments.

Driving the news: NBA players won't be subject to random marijuana testing this season, an extension of an agreement between the league and its players' union that began ahead of the 2020 Orlando restart.

3 hours ago - World

Scoop: Jake Sullivan discussed Saudi-Israel normalization with MBS

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg and Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan raised normalization with Israel during his recent meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, three U.S. and Arab sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Saudi Arabia would be the biggest regional player to sign onto the "Abraham Accords" peace agreement with Israel, and such a major breakthrough would likely convince other Arab and Muslim countries to follow suit.