Oil prices have tumbled over the last two months, with Brent and WTI crude down more than 20% since June.
The three Rs help explain why: recession fears, resilient Russian production, and retreating demand.
Analysts are divided about what's next, with some predicting a rebound and others expecting the falls to continue.
Oil prices have come back down to earth after soaring in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, to the relief of politicians, companies, and drivers everywhere.
WTI crude, the US benchmark oil price, has fallen 28% since its most recent highs in early June, to trade at around $90 a barrel Wednesday.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, is down 24% from its own June highs, to trade at around $95 a barrel Wednesday. It's dropped more than 30% from its March high of close to $140.
So why are oil prices falling? The three Rs are to blame: recession fears, Russian resilience, and retreating demand. However, no one's quite sure what comes next.
The world economy is slowing
The key factor pushing prices lower is growing fears that the world's major economies are going to tumble into recessions some time in the next year. When economies slow, the demand for energy naturally drops.
Last month, data showed that the US economy shrank for two consecutive quarters in the first half of the year. Elsewhere, the UK and eurozone look set to slide into brutal recessions.
"All of the talk of recession has caught up with crude prices over the summer, forcing a substantial correction that will be welcomed by those looking on in horror as they fill their cars," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at currency platform Oanda.
Some analysts say the strength of the dollar has also weighed on global demand, cooling prices. Oil is priced in dollars, and the surge in the greenback this year has made the commodity prohibitively expensive for some buyers, the theory goes.
Russian production has remained robust
A less-remarked upon factor is that Russian production has stayed stronger than analysts expected.
Sanctions against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine in late February led many to sharply downgrade their expectations of the country's output, causing traders to bid up prices.
However, the expected drop in Russian production is yet to materialize. Russia has stepped up its sales to India and China, and domestic demand has been strong over the summer. That's meant there's been more oil to go round than anticipated.
"The market consensus was too pessimistic about Russia's capability to re-route volumes to other buyers," JPMorgan analysts said in a recent note.
US drivers are staying at home
On the demand side of the equation, there are signs that the appetite for oil hasn't been as strong as many expected, even ahead of the expected slowdowns in growth. For example, the US Energy Information Administration said last month that gasoline demand for the week ending July 8 was the lowest seasonally since 1996.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden's releases from the strategic oil reserves, which aimed to cool gasoline costs, have also added to the downward pressure on crude prices, analysts have said.
Analysts are divided on the outlook
Wall Street is undecided about whether prices are set to keep falling or to rebound.
Analysts at Citigroup have said prices could fall as low as $65 by the end of the year if a nasty recession hits the global economy. Even without a recession, Citi expects prices to fall to around $85 by year-end.
Goldman Sachs this week downgraded its forecasts, but said it still expects oil to rebound, not least because it thinks demand is stronger than many realize. Goldman said Brent crude will rise to $110 in the third quarter and $125 in the fourth.
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