ANKARA 

Crude oil prices were down on Friday as China disappointed investors by not setting a GDP growth target for 2020 amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

International benchmark Brent crude traded at $34.48 per barrel at 0605 GMT for a 4.4% decline after closing Thursday at $36.06 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $31.96 a barrel at the same time for a 5.8% fall after ending the previous day at $33.92 per barrel.

The annual meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC) kicked off in Beijing on Friday after two months of delay due to COVID-19.

However, the world’s second-biggest economy failed to set out an economic growth target for this year, after it contracted by 6.8% in the first quarter of the year, compared to the same period last year.

Premier Li Keqiang confirmed at the NPC that his country would not be setting out an economic growth target for this year, due to “the global pandemic and big uncertainties in the economy and trade,” according to South China Morning Post.

The uncertainties worry investors that oil consumption and crude demand of the world’s second-largest oil consumer could remain low as a result of weak economic activity in the country this year.

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