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Data: Yahoo; Chart: Axios Visuals

The oil market's recovery from the depths of the pandemic-fueled collapse has gone into reverse lately.

Driving the news: Prices stalled in the low $40s per barrel for the U.S. benchmark WTI several months ago and have been losing ground in recent days.

  • WTI and Brent crude, the global benchmark, are both trading at their lowest levels in over two months this morning.
  • U.S. prices had slid to $37.45 as we hit publish Tuesday morning, with Brent at $40.46.

Why it matters: They're too low for many producers to profitably drill new wells and ease financial stress, and more bankruptcies are likely.

  • Indebted U.S. shale producers and their contractors are especially exposed.
  • More broadly, prices shows the tragic global persistence of COVID-19, which has slashed demand for oil, although it is come back a lot from earlier in the year.

The big picture: Analysts say COVID-19 and other forces — including U.S.-China trade tensions and higher OPEC+ supply — are together putting downward pressure on prices as summer winds down.

  • "The streak of losses is driven by a stalling crude demand outlook for the rest of the year, with rising cases of COVID-19 and the end of the summer driving season in the US, as well as Asian refineries putting on breaks," Rystad Energy analyst Paola Rodríguez-Masiu said in a note this morning.

Yes, but: Norbert Ruecker of the Swiss bank Julius Baer tells Reuters that the market's macro conditions favor a return to recovery.

  • “Fundamentally, things have not changed,” he said. “Demand is recovering, supply remains constrained, and the storage overhang is slowly disappearing.”

Go deeper: COVID-19 remains oil price’s wild card (FT)

Go deeper

Wall Street bets it all on a vaccine

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

It's the time of year when Wall Street shops are rolling out predictions for where they see the stock market headed in the coming year. There's one common theme: Widespread distribution of a vaccine is the reason to be bullish.

Why it matters: Analysts say vaccines will help the economy heal, corporate profits rebound and stock market continue its upward trajectory.

Wisconsin recount reaffirms Biden's victory in the state

Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images

The two recounts in Wisconsin requested by the Trump campaign were completed Sunday and confirmed that President-elect Joe Biden won the state, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: Biden won Wisconsin by more than 20,000 votes. Recounts in the state's most populous and liberal areas — Dane and Milwaukee counties — netted him an additional 87 votes.

14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Congressional Hispanics want Lujan Grisham at HHS

Michelle Lujan Grisham arriving on Capitol Hill. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Hispanic lawmakers are openly lobbying to have New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham be named Health and Human Services secretary, according to a letter obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: These members are now following the example some Black lawmakers have used for weeks: trying to convince Joe Biden his political interests will be served by rewarding certain demographic groups with Cabinet picks.