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China’s Rains Promise Ample Hydropower in a New Blow to Coal

  • Nation hosts the world’s largest fleet of hyropower dams
  • Factory gate prices rise faster than expected in April
Clouds and fog after rain on the upper reaches of the Pearl River in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on May 10. 

Clouds and fog after rain on the upper reaches of the Pearl River in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on May 10. 

Photographer: CFOTO/Future Publishing/Getty Images

Heavy rainfall sweeping across southern China is swelling reservoirs and promising ample hydropower generation that will further suppress coal demand already weakened by pandemic restrictions. 

Local authorities have issued flood warnings and the country’s meteorological center expects as much as 20 centimeters (8 inches) of precipitation to fall in parts of the south from May 10 to 15, including in the industrial redoubt of Guangdong, with some individual weather stations seeing record totals of 50 centimeters. Yangtze River levels were about 74 centimeters higher in April than historical norms, and the Three Gorges Dam reservoir rose to within a meter of the record set in August 2020.