China increased power generation to a record in July to meet summer electricity demand.
Output rose 12 percent from a year earlier to 377.6 billion kilowatt-hours, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics Wednesday. That surpassed the previous all-time high of 350 billion kilowatt-hours in December.
China typically consumes more electricity between July and September as summer temperatures prompt increased use of air-conditioners. Power demand growth may be tempered by slowing industrial production as the government clamps down on real-estate speculation, curbs lending and shuts factories to meet energy conservation targets.
"We need to look into August, which is usually the peak month of the year, to see the real impact" of summer on electricity demand, said Dave Dai, an analyst at Daiwa Capital Markets Hong Kong Ltd. "The recent falls in coal prices and high inventories at Qinhuangdao are not good signs for demand."
China's industrial output grew the least in 11 months in July while coal prices at Qinhuangdao, the country's largest port for the fuel, dropped in the week ended July 26, the first decline during the three-month summer period since 2007, according to sxcoal.com, a Chinese data provider. Coal is used to fuel 80 percent of the nation's power plants.
Thermal coal inventories at the port, which ships half of China's seaborne coal, rose 29 percent to 7.28 million metric tons as of Aug 6 compared with a month earlier, data from Shanghai Steelhome Information show.
Power output growth reached 12 percent in July, 0.1 percentage point above that for June and down from more than 20 percent in April, according to Wednesday's data.
Electricity demand growth may ease to about 5 percent in the second half from a year earlier compared with the 22 percent expansion in the first half, the China Electricity Council said on July 26.
China's crude oil production increased 6.4 percent to a record 17.2 million metric tons last month, according to the data Wednesday. That beat the previous all-time high of 17.15 million tons in May.
The statistics bureau didn't provide any coal output figures in Wednesday's release.