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Photo: Ryad Kramdi/AFP via Getty Images

OPEC's possible responses to the spreading coronavirus that's hurting oil demand and prices are starting to come into view.

Why it matters: Besides killing more than 360 people so far, the outbreak is severely curtailing airline and economic activity in China, the world's largest oil importer and second-largest oil consumer.

  • Brent crude prices have tumbled by roughly $10 per barrel in the last two weeks. It's currently trading in the low-$56 range.

Driving the news: Reuters reports that OPEC and allied producers could deepen their existing production-limiting pact by 500,000 barrels per day.

  • The Wall Street Journal has the same info, but also reports: "Another option being considered would involve a temporary cut of 1 million barrels a day by the Saudis to jolt oil markets."

The big picture: This new Bloomberg piece, citing people with "inside knowledge" of China's energy sector, gets to the scary and immense scale of what's happening...

  • "Chinese oil demand has dropped by about three million barrels a day, or 20% of total consumption, as the coronavirus squeezes the economy."
  • It's "probably the largest demand shock the oil market has suffered since the global financial crisis of 2008 to 2009," they report.

What's next: A technical monitoring committee for OPEC+, which is the alliance between the cartel, Russia and allied producers, is slated to meet this week, per multiple reports.

  • A higher level emergency meeting could occur later this month, several outlets report.

Go deeper: The global economic threat of the coronavirus

Go deeper

5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Patrick Gaspard to leave George Soros' Open Society Foundations

Patrick Gaspard speaks onstage at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Photo: Ernesto Distefano/Getty Images

Patrick Gaspard, who served as ambassador to South Africa under President Barack Obama, is stepping down as president of George Soros' Open Society Foundations, fueling speculation that he'll join the Biden administration, potentially as Labor secretary.

What to know: Before his stint as ambassador, Gaspard was Obama's political director in the White House, drawing upon his experience in the labor movement to advance Obama's legislative agenda on health care and financial services reform.

House passes bill to decriminalize marijuana

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a longtime marijuana legalization advocate and co-sponsor of the bill. Photo: Pete Marovich For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The House on Friday voted 228-164 in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, marking the first time a congressional chamber has voted in favor of decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level.

Why it matters: The Washington Post describes the bill as a "landmark retreat in the nation’s decades-long war on drugs," which has disproportionately affected people of color.

Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office.
  2. Health: Coronavirus death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased COVID-19 testing can reduce transmission — Hospitalizations top 100,000 for the first time.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Vaccine: What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do — Obama, Bush and Clinton willing to take vaccine in public —WSJ: Pfizer expects to ship half as many COVID vaccines as planned in 2020.

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