Oil Prices Drop on Growing Concerns About China Economic Outlook, Possible Rate Hikes in Spotlight
- 07-Mar-2023 12:27 PM
- Journalist: Rene Swann
LONDON [England]: Oil prices took a dive on Monday after China set its economic growth target for 2021 to around 5%, stirring up market uncertainty as investors anxiously prepare for US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's testimony later this week. Brent crude futures had dropped to $85.12 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures was at $79.09.
China had a lower-than-expected Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2020, of only 3%. Sources close to the policy revealed they would set a target as high as 6% for 2023.
Premier Li Keqiang asserted on Sunday that the foundation for stable economic growth in China needs to be consolidated, as weak demand continues to be a major problem and private investors' and businesses' expectations remain unstable.
Meanwhile, oil prices are expected to trend higher due to rate hikes from global central banks who are attempting to contain inflation worries. This follows news that the United Arab Emirates is not considering leaving OPEC, driving crude benchmarks up by more than $1 on Friday.
Traders are weighing their expectations on US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's testimony to Congress this Tuesday and Wednesday, with discussions surrounding potential rate hikes. The February payrolls report due on Friday and the inflation report coming up next week will also be key factors in determining future rate hikes. Meanwhile, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde has said it is "very likely" that the bank will opt for an interest rate increase this month to counteract inflation.