China’s energy production and consumption recovered fast over the January-March quarter, following the steady resumption of economic activity last quarter, new data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed. Despite the higher energy consumption, the country made more progress in energy saving, with energy consumption per GDP unit dropping 3.1% on year against the sharp growth of 18.3% on year in China’s total GDP in Q1.
Energy production across China increased notably in Q1, thanks to the low base during January-March last year and supported this year by steady energy demand, according to NBS data. Last year, output of major energy products had declined on year, affected by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over January-March, China’s fossil energy output and processing grew fast in general, among which, output of coal – the country’s core source of energy – increased 16% on year to 970.6 million tonnes. During Q1 last year, it had edged down 0.5% on year, NBS data showed.
To support the growth in domestic demand for clean energy, China lifted crude oil and natural gas imports over January-March, while curtailing coal imports, NBS noted.
Over January-March, China’s electricity generation recovered fast too, surging by 19% on year to 1.9 trillion kWh, chiefly supported by firm thermal power generation. Due to the seasonal low precipitation last quarter, the country’s generation of hydro electricity was essentially unchanged on year at 195.9 billion kWh.
China’s energy consumption also posted high-speed growth over the January-March quarter, as total consumption increased 14.6% on year, in contrast to the 3.1% on-year decline recorded during January-March last year, the NBS data show. Volume details have not been released yet.
The growth was slower than China’s GDP, which increased 18.3% on year to Yuan 24.9 trillion ($3.82 trillion), according to NBS data.
Industrial activity accounted for over 60% of China’s total energy consumption in Q1, with the volume jumping by 14.4% on year. During January-March 2020, it had declined 4.3% on year, NBS noted.
Source: Sean Xie & Russ McCulloch
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