China’s energy consumption dropped by the biggest margin in five years in the first two months of 2020, as both the supply and demand sides of the industry were hit by the government’s strict measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic, reported Caixin.
Fresh data from the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planner, showed Tuesday that the nation consumed 7.8% less electricity in January and February compared with the same period last year, led by a 12% fall in industrial consumption and a 3.1% drop in the services industry.
Consumption dropped most precipitously in China’s developed coastal regions. The eastern province of Zhejiang, home to the port city of Ningbo and the major commercial hub of Wenzhou, posted a 21.3% year-on-year plunge in the first two months of the year. Neighboring Jiangsu province consumed 16.84% less power and Shanghai, which is nestled between the two provinces, used 12.89% less, according to data from provincial governments.
Even these steep drops may not fully reflect the massive scale of the economic shutdown in the period as some companies and factories, under pressure from officials to meet work resumption targets, left manufacturing equipment, lights and air conditioners running to inflate power consumption figures.