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U.S. Justice Department said it would meet with state attorney-generals to discuss worries that social media platforms are "intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas." Data from the U.S. Commerce Department showed that the U.S. trade deficit rose to a 5-month high in July, which could heighten the Trump administration’s resolve to aggressively pursue an "America First" approach to trade. The U.S. plan to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports is expected to go into effect soon after a public comment period ends on Thursday.

On Wednesday, energy companies and port operators along the U.S. Gulf Coast were reported to be moving towards a resumption of operations, following the passage of Tropical Storm Gordon. Gordon never became a hurricane and weakened into a depression on Wednesday, just hours after making landfall near the Alabama-Mississippi border. This development kept most of the production and refining operations along the Gulf Coast running unimpeded. The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said that 9.4 pct oil production and 10.4 pct of natural gas output in the region was halted by the storm's path through the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

 Late on Wednesday, industry group the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. crude inventories fell last week by 1.2 mil bbls, with crude stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma higher by 631,000 bbls, the API added.

U.S. exports of crude oil eased slightly lower to 2.1 mil bpd in July, from a record-high of 2.2 mil bpd in June, according to data on Wednesday from the U.S. Census Bureau.

OPEC's secretary-general said on Wednesday that global consumption of oil will hit 100 mil bpd in 2018, achieving that level much earlier than previously forecast. Mohammad Barkindo told an energy conference that "the world will attain the 100 million barrels a day mark of consumption later this year, much sooner than we all earlier projected.

India's imports of Iranian oil fell in August for a third consecutive month, as the U.S. stepped up pressure on buyers to halt imports from Iran. Preliminary tanker arrival data showed that India imported about 523,000 bpd of oil from Iran in August, down 32 pct from a month earlier.



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