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Electricity use increase shows stronger economy

By Lan Lan (China Daily)

08:15, March 15, 2013

Growth in the service sector is most obvious, followed by agricultural and industrial sectors

China's electricity consumption, a gauge of economic activity, rose in the first two months of the year, signaling the country's economy is strengthening.

The consumption reached 789.2 billion kilowatt-hours in January and February, up 5.5 percent year-on-year, the National Energy Administration said on Thursday.

The growth in power usage was supported by the recovery of manufacturing industries with production of steel, cement, nonferrous metals and vehicles all seeing double-digit growth in the same period.

Growth in the service sector was more obvious, up 13.8 percent in the first two months, while consumption increased 4.3 percent in the agricultural industry and 4.2 percent in the industrial sector.

Electricity consumption in February dropped 12.5 percent year-on-year to 337.4 billion kWh, mainly because factories ceased or slowed operations during Lunar New Year.

Lin Boqiang, director of the Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, said the economy has shown signs of further recovery, based on the power consumption figure.

But analysts said figures for March or the first quarter will be more valuable in analyzing this year's economic situation.

China has targeted 7.5 percent economic growth this year, the same as last year. The economic growth increased by 7.8 percent in 2012.

Last year, China's electricity consumption was 4.96 trillion kWh, up 5.5 percent from 2011, according to the NEA.

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