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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

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Aug 6, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Coronavirus hastens Big Oil's Atlantic divide on climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The pandemic is accelerating a divide between European and American oil companies over climate change and clean energy.

Why it matters: Bottom lines and investor returns will be vastly different across the corporate spectrum depending on how aggressively the world tackles climate change in the coming decades.

42 mins ago - World

Netanyahu campaigns against Biden's plan to save Iran deal

Netanyahu campaigns at a gym last month. Photo: Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indirectly criticized the Biden administration for its intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal and told his supporters he was prepared to "stand against the entire world" to stop it.

Why it matters: This is a major change of tune for Netanyahu, who had been careful in his statements on the Iran deal and avoided publicly criticizing President Biden. The statement was part of Netanyahu's attempt to rally his base ahead of Israel's election on March 23.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Tech: "Fludemic" model accurately maps COVID hotspotsVirtual doctor's visits and digital health tools take off.
  2. Politics: Schumer says Senate will stay through weekend to vote on COVID relief — Republican governor of West Virginia says there's no plan to lift mask mandate.
  3. World: Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between doses.
  4. Business: Firms develop new ways to inoculate the public.
  5. Local: Ultra-rich Florida community got vaccinations in January.