Payments, Politics, and Pump Prices: A Rollercoaster News Roundup

The House Oversight Committee has unveiled a direct payment to President Joe Biden, allegedly laundered through his brother James. In 2018, James Biden received $600,000 in loans from Americore, a financially distressed rural hospital operator. On March 1, 2018, Americore wired a $200,000 loan into James and Sara Biden’s personal bank account, and on the same day, James Biden wrote a $200,000 check from this account to Joe Biden. The Committee is continuing its investigation into these transactions.

In international news, the United States has welcomed an electoral roadmap agreement between the Unitary Platform and Maduro representatives in Venezuela. In response to these democratic developments, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has issued General Licenses authorizing transactions involving Venezuela’s oil and gas sector and gold sector. The easing of sanctions could potentially boost Venezuelan oil exports significantly, with the country’s oil production currently standing at 800,000 barrels per day.

On the economic front, the total amount of debt owed by the US government is increasing at an alarming rate. The Treasury’s FiscalData platform shows $106.12 billion has been added to America’s debt in the seven-day stretch ending on October 18th. The US government’s spending exceeded its revenues by $1.7 trillion in the now concluded 2023 fiscal year, representing a $300 billion jump from the year before.

In the banking sector, Credit Suisse is preparing for a third wave of job cuts, targeting 10% of support roles. The Swiss bank has informed employees that job cuts will commence on November 6. Meanwhile, three of America’s biggest banks, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Citi, have recorded an outflow of deposits in Q3, with a total of $84.5 billion worth of deposits disappearing in a single quarter.

Finally, US gasoline prices are poised to climb if oil persists at $90/barrel. Despite the recent surge in oil prices, pump prices have declined more than 4% in the past two weeks due to soft demand and relatively high inventories. However, if tensions in the Middle East escalate, the impact at the pump could reach consumers sooner than expected.

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