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Crude Oil Futures Give Up Early Gains, Settle Flat

Crude oil futures surrendered their entire early gains and settled flat on Thursday.

Higher production in August by OPEC and Russia, and concerns about near-term energy demand outlook due to global economic slowdown appeared to have weighed on crude oil prices.

Tensions in the Middle East, recent data showing a drop in U.S. crude stockpiles and trade talks optimism pushed crude oil prices up sharply early on in the session, but prices retreated as the session progressed.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for October ended up $0.04 or about 0.07%, at $56.30 a barrel.

Data released by the Energy Information Administration said crude inventories in the U.S. fell by 4.8 million barrels in the week ended August 30, nearly two times the expected fall.

On Wednesday evening, the American Petroleum Institute estimated a surprise crude oil inventory build of 400,000 barrels last week, compared to analyst expectations of a 3.50-million barrel draw.

On the trade front, the United States and China have agreed to hold trade talks in Washington early next month and take actions to create favorable conditions.

Following telephone consultations between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, China's Commerce Ministry said a new round of face-to-face trade talks will be held in Washington in early October.

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