Oil slips 9% as China’s economic recovery looks shakier than hoped

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Reuters/Stringer (CHINA) CHINA OUT

  • Oil slumped as China said it would not set a target for 2020 economic growth for the first time in decades, raising concerns over its pace of recovery from the coronavirus outbreak.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell as much as 9.4%, to $30.72 per barrel. Brent crude fell 7%, to $33.54 per barrel, at intraday lows.
  • Oil had rallied in recent days prior to Friday’s dip, boosted by a report that China’s oil demand has nearly recovered to pre-crisis levels.
  • Watch oil trade live on Markets Insider.

Oil prices slumped Friday, snapping a six-day winning streak, as new developments suggested China’s economic recovery is more fragile than originally expected.

West Texas Intermediate crude fell as much as 9.4%, to $30.72 per barrel, before paring those losses to 3.8% at 8:35 a.m. ET in New York. Brent crude fell 7%, to $33.54 per barrel, at intraday lows.

Late Thursday, China said that it would not set a target for annual economic growth this year for the first time in decades as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause uncertainty. The government also said that it would focus on providing further stimulus to the nation.

The decision sets a more somber tone for a potential economic recovery and, by extension, long-term oil demand. Still, there have been signs of near-term recovery. Earlier this week, a Bloomberg report said oil demand in China had nearly rebounded to pre-coronavirus crisis levels.

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Producers around the world continue to cut output of the commodity to meet current demand and keep prices in check. The US has been wearing down its stockpiles of oil. Last week, inventories at a storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma dropped by the most on record.

Oil prices have recovered from hitting negative prices earlier in the year amid the coronavirus pandemic and cratered demand. But WTI futures are still down roughly 71% year to date.

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Markets Insider