China’s power output rose at the slowest pace in more than three years for a non-Lunar New Year holiday month as the nation’s economic growth slowed for a sixth quarter to the weakest pace in three years.
Electricity generation was unchanged in June from a year earlier at 393.4 billion kilowatt-hours, according to data released today by the Beijing-based National Bureau of Statistics. That’s the first time since May 2009 that production hasn’t increased, excluding a contraction in January this year as factories shut for the weeklong holiday.
China’s gross domestic product expanded 7.6 percent last quarter from a year earlier, compared with 8.1 percent in the prior three months and 7.7 percent forecast by economists in a Bloomberg News survey. Industrial output increased 9.5 percent in June, missing the 9.8 percent median estimate in a separate Bloomberg survey, the NBS data showed. Factories account for about three-quarters of China’s electricity consumption.
June’s power data “are really bad and worse than our expectation,” Shi Yan, a Shanghai-based analyst at UOB-Kay Hian Ltd., said by telephone. “Poor economic performance is dragging down electricity demand from the industrial sector. Demand in the third quarter may improve, but only slightly.”
About 80 percent of China’s power plants are fueled by coal. Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. cut its forecast for domestic thermal-coal prices for the third time in two months, citing oversupply, according to a report today.
Shanxi Premium coal with a heating value of 5,500 kilocalories per kilogram will average 700 yuan ($110) a metric ton in 2012 and 650 yuan next year, Michael Parker, an analyst at Bernstein in Hong Kong, said in the report. The brokerage previously forecast prices would be at 735 yuan this year and 665 yuan in 2013.
Benchmark spot prices at the port of Qinhuangdao fell for a ninth week to a range of 645 yuan to 660 yuan as of June 8, according to data from the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association.
— With assistance by Jing Yang, and William Bi