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Oil futures hovered near unchanged early Tuesday, consolidating after a pullback the previous session as investors weighed the demand outlook for China after the country’s leadership outlined its economic plans.

Price moves

  • West Texas Intermediate crude
    for April delivery was down 2 cents at $78.72 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

  • May Brent crude

    the global benchmark, was unchanged at $82.89 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

Market drivers

China’s official growth target for 2024 is around 5%, Premier Li Qiang said Tuesday in an annual report, as the country struggles to deal with a real estate crisis. Li said the government plans to issue 1 trillion yuan (about $139 billion) in “ultralong special treasury bonds” in 2024 and over each of the coming several years — a long hoped-for extra promise of government spending to help support flagging growth.

The government also plans to provide support for debt-strapped local governments facing “economic difficulty,” he said.

The growth target is seen as “ambitious,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank, in a note, observing that U.S. crude “failed to extend gains above $80 per barrel even after the Chinese stimulus bets.”

Crude prices stumbled Monday, failing to find support after OPEC+ extended voluntary production cuts of 2.2 million barrels a day into the second quarter.

“An oversupply in the second quarter should now be avoided. However, an extension for a further three months was already expected,” said Carsten Fritsch, commodity analyst at Commerzbank, in a note.

—Associated Press contributed.

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