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Oil Prices Tumble As China Drops GDP Target For First Time

Oil prices slumped on Friday after China dropped setting economic growth target for the first time, citing uncertainties posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Benchmark Brent crude slumped as much as 4.2 percent to $34.55 a barrel, after rising almost 1 percent on Thursday. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 5.5 percent at $32.05 a barrel.

At the annual session of National People's Congress in Beijing, Premier Li Keqiang said the country will face some factors that are difficult to predict in its development due to the great uncertainty regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and the world economic and trade environment.

Increased U.S.-China tensions over the origin of the novel coronavirus as well as China's move to strengthen control over Hong Kong with new security laws also added to worries of a deeper global recession.

After China moved to impose new national-security laws on Hong Kong, U.S. President Donald Trump said that Washington would react "very strongly" against the attempt to gain more control over the former British colony.

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