China's April industrial production index rose only 9.3% from a year ago, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. It was the first single digit growth since May 2009.
Year-on-year growth of electric power generation in the month was the lowest level since May 2009, and crude oil inputs were lower than a year ago.
Those downward tendencies have been clearly accelerated since mid-2011.
Growth of Industrial production in China stayed between 15-20% before mid-2008. The growth rate currently has declined to 10-15% after the turmoil caused by the Lehman shock. Growth of electric power generation also decreased to around 10% from previous 15%. Those numbers seem to be sinking further this year.
Meanwhile, the past 12 months growth of crude oil processing has remained below 5% level or even lower than a year ago.
Even if Chinese government continues to announce relatively steady growth of gross domestic production and business indices, China's energy consumption seems to have gone into the low growing era already.
We may be able to explain the sluggish growth as the change of energy consumption structure similar with U.S.
Petroleum use in the U.S. has been decreasing constantly since late 2010 without certain correlation with the nation's industrial activity.
However, China still significantly relies on manufacturing compared to U.S. or Japan.
Slow growth of energy consumption suggests current lower activity in factories and transportation sectors, if China has not succeeded to save energy dramatically.
If usual business cycle leads the sluggish growth of energy use, China may resume another round of steady growth rates. But energy consumption in the country is likely to decline in long-term, if manufacturers have begun to shift their facilities from China to other developing nations.