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China's Power Demand Dives In 2020

China’s power consumption in the first two months of the year fell 7.8 percent on 2019 because of the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reports, citing data from the National Development and Reform Commission.

Power generation also fell, by 8.2 percent, in January and February, although since the beginning of March it has increased, the state planning agency also said.

China is beginning to recover from the worst of the outbreak but it will be a while before this recovery translates into increased energy demand and consumption.

The latest reports are all gloomy. Consumer spending and factory activity for January and February all turned out worse than expected, the Associated Press reported yesterday, citing government data.

Factory output dropped by 13.5 percent in the period from a year earlier, the data showed, which was a record decline. Retail sales fell even more, by 20.5 percent. In energy, official data for fuel demand has yet to be released but consultancy Rystad Energy has calculated that road fuel demand alone suffered a blow of 1.5 million bpd in just February.

Forecasts for total fuel demand are a lot worse. State energy major CNPC said it expected this to have dropped by as much as 26 percent during the first quarter of the year. Gasoline demand, the company said, is seen 1.1 million bpd lower in January-March 2020 from a year earlier, and diesel demand is seen down by 790,000 bpd, or 25 percent.

Jet fuel demand will suffer the most thanks to the flight cancellations prompted by the epidemic that has now turned into a pandemic. According to CNPC, jet fuel demand will record a 47-percent annual decline in the first quarter.

Demand for the three most popular fuels, the state major said, is seen falling by 2.2 million bpd in February alone, the worst month of the outbreak.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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