(Bloomberg) — Oil clung to losses after U.S. government data showed the first crude stockpile gain in four weeks, adding to concerns over a demand recovery with stimulus talks in limbo.

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Futures in New York fell as much as 3.4% on Wednesday. An Energy Information Administration report showed domestic crude inventories increased 501,000 barrels last week, while supplies at the nation’s biggest storage hub at Cushing, Oklahoma, climbed to the highest level since May.

At the same time, U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to suspend fiscal relief talks until after the election is casting further doubt on energy demand bouncing back amid the pandemic. Reopening plans around the world are being thrown into question as global cases top 35 million.

This ended a trend of “fairly large declines,” said Rob Thummel, a portfolio manager at Tortoise, a firm that manages roughly $8 billion in energy-related assets. “There continues to be uncertainty associated with domestic demand and the need for fiscal stimulus to continue to boost the economy and correspondingly boost demand for crude oil.”



chart: U.S. crude inventories rise for the first time in four weeks


© Bloomberg
U.S. crude inventories rise for the first time in four weeks

Oil’s retreat follows two sessions of gains, lifted by a workers’ strike in Norway and Hurricane Delta spurring Gulf of Mexico operators to shut output. Still, without a U.S. virus relief package, the demand outlook has only become dimmer. Governments around the world are trying to control the spread, with Brussels and Bucharest becoming the latest European capitals to impose restrictions on nightlife.

Trump in a series of Tuesday-night tweets called on Democrats to pass standalone bills. While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled openness to a standalone airline relief bill in a telephone conversation with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday, it is a far cry from the Democrats’ $2.2 trillion

WASHINGTON (AP) — Revelations that President Donald Trump is personally liable for more than $400 million in debt are casting a shadow over his presidency that ethics experts say raises national security concerns he could be manipulated to sway U.S. policy by organizations or individuals he’s indebted to.

New scrutiny of Trump, who claims great success as a private businessman, comes after The New York Times reported that tax records show he is personally carrying a staggering amount of debt — including more than $300 million in loans that will come due in the next four years.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was blunt about the potential implications. “He may be vulnerable to financial blackmail from a hostile foreign power and God knows what else,” said Warren, a frequent Trump critic.

The Times said the tax records also show that Trump did not pay any federal income taxes in 11 years between 2000 and 2018, raising questions about the fairness of a president — who purports to be a billionaire — paying less in taxes than most Americans.

The politically damaging revelations about Trump’s tax avoidance, however, are perhaps less concerning than word the president is holding hundreds of millions of dollars of soon-to-mature debt, ethics experts said.

“Americans should be concerned about the president’s debt because it’s a national security risk for our country,” said Donald Sherman, deputy director of the nonprofit government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). “This is information that the president has aggressively and repeatedly tried to keep away from the public.”

Trump, citing an ongoing Internal Revenue Service audit, has refused to follow the post-Watergate precedent set by other presidents of releasing his tax returns, so the complexities of his financial interests and who he does business with have remained opaque.

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