Oil falls as U.S.-China conflict grows, Beijing shuns economic growth target
Oil prices dropped on Friday as U.S.-China tensions intensified and Beijing failed to set a targeted economic growth for 2020. These raised concerns on the possibility that the coronavirus crisis will dwarf fuel demand in China.
Brent crude fell 4%, or $1.43, at $34.63 per barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate plunged 5.3%, or $1.81, at $32.11 per barrel.
Oil prices rose in recent weeks following the collapse in April, when U.S. crude traded below zero.
Investors were disappointed in Beijing’s decision not to set a target for economic growth this year. Analysts also said that the U.S.-China conflict and Beijing’s plan to impose national security legislation in Hong Kong is weighing on the markets.
U.S. President Donald Trump warned China over their attempts to affirm more control in Hong Kong.
Gasoline demand is recovering worldwide, with traffic congestion returning to pre-coronavirus crisis levels. U.S. crude inventories dropped last week, contrary to analyst expectations.