Walmart says it is testing drones to better manage its warehouse inventory. (David Gottschalk/AP)
OPEC fails to reach deal on output strategy

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries failed to agree on a clear oil-output strategy Thursday as Iran insisted on steeply raising its production, though archrival Saudi Arabia promised not to flood the market and sought to mend fences within the organization.

Tensions between the Sunni-led kingdom and Shiite Iran had blighted several previous OPEC meetings, but the strains were less acute Thursday, as new Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih demonstrated a more conciliatory tone, and Iranian counterpart Bijan Zanganeh kept his criticism of Riyadh to a minimum.

Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies had tried to propose that OPEC set a new collective ceiling to repair the group’s waning importance. But Thursday’s meeting ended with no new policy or ceiling amid resistance from Iran.

Despite the setback, Saudi Arabia moved to soothe market fears that failure to reach any deal would prompt OPEC’s largest producer to raise output further to punish rivals and gain additional market share.

“We will . . . make sure we don’t shock the market in any way,” Falih said. “There is no reason to expect that Saudi Arabia is going to go on a flooding campaign.”

— Reuters

1.9 million GM vehicles recalled over air bags

General Motors announced its largest recall of Takata air-bag inflators yet, but the nation’s biggest automaker said the parts are unique to its trucks and SUVs and do not pose a safety risk.

The government’s highway-safety agency disagrees. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said GM must proceed with two recalls adding up to 1.9 million trucks from the 2007 through 2011 model years.

The recalls were unveiled Thursday along with those from six other automakers totaling 4.4 million vehicles. They are part of the first round of a massive Takata recall expansion announced in May. A total of 17 automakers are adding 35 million to 40 million inflators to what already was the largest auto recall in U.S. history.

Takata inflators can malfunction and spew shrapnel into drivers and passengers when exposed to humidity and repeated hot-and-cold cycles.

GM said it would begin the recall process in cooperation with the NHTSA even though it said it does not believe inflators in its trucks are unsafe.

The company said no inflators in its trucks have ruptured during an estimated 44,000 crashes or in testing of returned inflators. It said the inflators were uniquely made for GM trucks and SUVs.

— Associated Press

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