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President Trump said via Twitter Sunday that he has authorized release of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve "if needed" in response to the attacks against Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure.

Why it matters: The statement signals high-level White House concern about the effect of the Saudi production outages on the global market.

  • Crude oil prices are surging Sunday evening as markets opened in Asia.
  • Brent crude soared by over $11-per-barrel to nearly $72-per-barrel in trading in Singapore before falling back to $67, per Bloomberg data. (The price will keep moving so check the link for the latest.)

Where it stands: Saudi officials say the attacks took 5.7 million barrels per day worth of production offline — over half of the kingdom's output.

  • It's unclear when full production from the world's top crude exporter will be fully restored. But per the Wall Street Journal, state oil giant Aramco hopes to restore 1/3 of the output by Monday's end.

Quick take: There's also a political dimension to the administration's posture, because the White House likely wants to avoid gasoline price increases heading into an election year.

The International Energy Agency, which coordinates emergency supply management with member nations, said in a statement yesterday that "For now, markets are well supplied with ample commercial stocks."

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Italy tightens COVID restrictions as experts warn of growing prevalence of variants

Health workers prepare vaccine doses in Iseo, Italy. Photo: Stefano Nicoli/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Italy on Saturday announced it was tightening restrictions in five of the country's 20 regions in an effort curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Driving the news: The announcement comes as health experts and scientists warn of the more transmissible coronavirus variants, per Reuters.

2 hours ago - Health

Health care in the New Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As America emerges from the pandemic, here's a special Axios AM Deep Dive on the Biden administration's health care agenda.

3 hours ago - World

Palestinian Authority announces new COVID restrictions as cases surge

A nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images

The Palestinian Authority on Saturday announced fresh coronavirus restrictions, including a partial lockdown, for the occupied West Bank as COVID-19 cases surge.

The big picture: The new measures come as Israel, which leads the world in vaccinations, faces increased pressure to ensure Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have equal access to vaccines.