Oil prices moved lower on Friday after China abandoned its 2020 GDP target, fueling concerns that petroleum-product demand will remain depressed in the world’s second-largest oil user. West Texas Intermediate dipped 5.6%, or $1.92, to trade at $32.00 per barrel, while international benchmark Brent traded 4.7% lower at $34.37. The pullback comes amid a period of strength for oil, and due to a jump earlier this week oil is still on track to post its fourth straight week of gains. “The price of oil have been rising and rising and rising over the last couple of weeks. Although there is reason for the higher levels, a constant increase is not sustainable or justified,” said Rystad Energy’s senior oil markets analyst Paola Rodriguez Masiu. — Stevens
7:20 am: China decides not to set economic growth target for 2020
China took the unusual step of deciding not to set a target for its economic growth for 2020 thanks to the unprecedented uncertainty introduced by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Our 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,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in an English-language text report.
The country’s economy contracted 6.8% in the first quarter, while unemployment has held hear historic highs thought data as recent as April suggest some recovery. Last year, China’s GDP grew by 6.1%, just making the official target range of 6% to 6.5%. — Franck, Cheng
7:15 am: Stock futures fall, point to more losses to end the week
Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes fell in premarket trading Friday morning with Wall Street set to end an otherwise strong week with modest losses. Dow futures implied an opening dip of about 100 points while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 contracts suggested declines of 0.4% and 0.5% respectively. Still, the major averages remained on pace for solid weekly gains. The Dow was up more than 3% week to date and headed for its biggest one-week gain since the week of April 9.
Trading will be suspended on Monday in the U.S. thanks to the Memorial Day holiday, — Franck