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Futures Movers: Oil prices fall after China’s 5% growth target underwhelms traders

Oil futures fall Monday, with analysts tying the softer tone to disappointment in the growth target set by China's National People's Congress. Read More...

Oil futures fell Monday, with traders appearing underwhelmed by the 5% economic growth target set by China’s National People’s Congress.

Price action
  • West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery CL00, -1.41% CL.1, -1.41% CLJ23, -1.41% fell $1.21, or 1.5%, to $78.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
  • May Brent crude BRN00, -1.39% BRNK23, -1.39% fell $1.28, or 1.5%, to $84.55 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
  • Back on Nymex, April gasoline RBJ23, -1.23% fell 1.3% to $2.715 a gallon, while April heating oil HOJ23, -1.89% declined 2% to $2.855 a gallon.
  • April natural gas NGJ23, -11.27% slumped 11.3% to $2.67 per million British thermal units, giving back a big chunk of last week’s 18% rally.
Market drivers

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the country’s top economic official, on Sunday announced that year’s growth target was “around 5%” following the end of COVID-related controls that kept millions of people at home and triggered protests. The economy grew by only 3% last year, falling well short of the government’s 5.5% target, a miss blamed in large part on lockdowns.

See: Here’s what analysts are saying after China set its growth target at 5%

Oil-market bulls have argued that a surge in demand for crude from China, one of the world’s largest energy consumers, would help drive a rally in 2023.

“Remember, traders were thinking that the fact China has dismantled its COVID-related policies, we are going to see robust demand, but those expectations are hit today with a dose of reality,” said Naeem Aslam, chief investment officer at Zaye Capital Markets, in a note.

“In simple terms, bulls are going to struggle to push the price today,” he said.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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