debtactor A drought worsens in southwestern China, where reservoirs for hydroelectric power run out and then shut down, cities impose rolling blackouts, and economic tensions mount as President Xi Jinping seeks to expand his grip on power. there is

According to news reports yesterday, companies in Sichuan, including manufacturers of solar panels, cement and urea, have closed or scaled back production after being ordered to cut electricity for up to five days. This came after water levels in reservoirs dropped and power demand for air conditioners surged in the heat wave.

“Leave power for the people,” an order from the state government came Tuesday.

In Sichuan province, home to 94 million people, water levels in reservoirs at hydroelectric power plants have fallen by up to half this month, according to the Sichuan Department of Economic Information and Technology.

The power company in Dazhou, a city in Sichuan province with a population of 3.4 million, imposed a 2.5-hour blackout this week, extending it to three hours on Wednesday, according to Shanghai-based news outlet The Paper. An office building in the provincial capital Chengdu was told to turn off the air conditioning, according to the Securities Times.

The shutdown poses a challenge for the ruling Communist Party as Xi Jinping, the most powerful leader in decades, breaks with tradition and prepares to award a third term as leader at a meeting in October or November. add.

Factory output and retail sales growth weakened in July, curtailing China’s economic recovery after Shanghai and other industrial centers were shut down since late March to combat the virus outbreak.

Economic growth in the first half of 2022 was only 2.5% y/y, less than half of the official annual target of 5.5%.

Regions in central and northern China have ordered emergency measures to ensure drinking water supplies after summer rains fell below half of normal levels. The state-run Xinhua News Agency said fire engines delivered water to his two dry villages near Chongqing in the southwest.

Hundreds of thousands of hectares (acres) of crops in central and northern China have wilted due to lack of water and high temperatures, according to the government. Some areas reported a failed summer growing season.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned that temperatures could reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas.

A subsidiary of Kuoguang Co., Ltd., which makes pesticides and fertilizers, will be closed from Monday until at least Saturday, the company said through the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Sichuan photovoltaic equipment makers, including Tongwei Solar Co. Ltd. and GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd., said they had been notified to distribute electricity.

“The power outages and production shutdowns have not had a major impact,” said Tongwei, business news outlet East Money reported.

China faced similar tensions last year when the southeastern province of Guangdong, one of the world’s most important manufacturing centers, ordered the closure of factories after sporadic rains left hydropower reservoirs low. faced with

The government has allocated 280 million yuan ($41 million) for drought relief in Hebei and Shanxi provinces, the northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and the northeastern Liaoning province, according to Xinhua News Agency.

“Some small and medium-sized rivers have dried up and stopped flowing,” the report said.

Meanwhile, officials have warned that parts of the country could experience flooding as heavy rains are expected across the northwest, across Inner Mongolia and into the northeast.

Joe McDonald, Beijing, MDT/AP

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