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President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

President Trump indicated Friday he’s unlikely to take major steps to prop up oil prices and help an industry imploding as coronavirus chokes oil demand.

Why it matters: The pressure is now on for a planned Monday meeting of OPEC and other producing nations to strike a deal absent big action by the U.S. government. If that falls through, the industry could plunge even further into the abyss. Prices, now hovering below $30 a barrel, could breach $10, some experts say.

Driving the news: After meeting with oil-industry executives Friday afternoon to discuss options to help the ailing sector, Trump seemed to only endorse finding more places to store oil.

  • That move would be a small and fleeting band-aid.
  • Trump also said he isn’t thinking of imposing tariffs on oil imports as of now, an idea pushed by some domestic producers.
  • The industry itself is divided on the scope of help the government should offer.

The big picture: As the pandemic threatens lives around the world, it’s shutting down a global economy driven by oil consumption. This, along with a related price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, is sending oil prices into a tailspin and producers scrambling to stay afloat.

What they’re saying: Despite tweeting earlier this week that he had talked to leaders of both Saudi Arabia and Russia, Trump suggested Friday that he wants to stay out of it. “Ultimately the marketplace will take care of it. I think they are going to work out their problem fairly quickly,” the president said.

What we’re watching: Whether Texas or other producing states bypass the federal government to try to hash out a deal to curtail production.

What to watch: Monday's virtual meeting is planned with Saudi Arabia, other members of the Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries, Russia — collectively known as OPEC+ — and possibly other producing nations.

Go deeper: Trump calls to fill up more places with oil

Go deeper

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters gathered outside fortified statehouses across the U.S. over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
7 hours ago - World

China's economy grows 6.5% in Q4 as country rebounds from coronavirus

A technician installs and checks service robots to be be used for food and medicine delivery in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, China, on Sunday. Photo: Hu Xuejun/VCG via Getty Images

China's economy grew at a 6.5% pace in the final quarter of 2020, the national statistics bureau announced Monday local time, topping off a year in which it grew in three of four quarters and by 2.3% in total.

Why it matters: No other major economy managed positive growth in 2020. Although the COVID-19 pandemic was first detected in China, the country got the virus under control and became one of the main positive drivers of the global economy even as the rest of the world was largely under lockdown.

8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons