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Expand chart
Data: S&P Global Market Intelligence; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Energy prices soared more than just about any asset class since the market's rock-bottom in March 2020.

Why it matters: Economists view the surge as a potential threat to the ongoing economic recovery.

By the numbers: Three of the five top-performing asset categories since March 23, 2020 — the lowest point of the bear market — are energy-related, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

  • Fuel prices rebounded so massively in large part as a result of “an exceptionally rapid global economic recovery … a cold and long winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and a weaker-than-expected increase in supply,” analysts with the International Energy Agency write.

The big picture: Energy production and investment had already been failing to keep up with demand prior to the pandemic. 

  • The health crisis dragged new oil and gas investment to a near-record low, intensifying the imbalance between supply and demand, according to the IEA, per Bloomberg.

On the flip side: Of more than 70 asset groupings that S&P examined for Axios — including international indexes, commodities and precious metals, and fixed income instruments — only five categories declined in price, most of which were related to U.S. treasurys.

  • S&P used the price of ETFs managed by iShares to track the relevant treasury categories.

Go deeper

Inflation microcosm: Used-car price surge continues

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics via FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

Consumer Price Index data released Wednesday showed used-vehicle prices continue to surge. As of December, they were up 37% compared to the previous year.

Why it matters: Analysts have been watching used-vehicle prices as a microcosm of the broader U.S. inflation story, encompassing both the disarray of global supply chains and the surge in demand for goods.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 13, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Biden's climate runway is shortening

Expand chart
Data: U.S. Energy Information Administration; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

The Biden administration is expanding efforts to speed clean electricity expansion with its existing powers, but faces big obstacles to meeting its climate goals without far more help from Congress.

Why it matters: President Biden has set a goal of reaching 100% carbon-free power by 2035 and cutting economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions — that is, power, transport, industry, etc. — in half by 2030.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 13, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Congress to take a look at crypto's carbon footprint

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

A powerful House committee next week will convene a hearing on the energy use of digital cryptocurrency mining.

Why it matters: The Jan. 20 Energy and Commerce Committee hearing highlights growing concern about carbon emissions linked to bitcoin and other currencies, even as the sector vows to get greener.

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