China is facing its worst power shortage in a decade. That’s a problem for the whole world

Several Chinese provinces have said they are facing a power crunch in recent weeks, including some of the country’s most important engines for economic growth.

Guangdong province — a manufacturing center responsible for $1.7 trillion, or more than 10%, of China’s annual economic output and a bigger share of its foreign trade — has been rationing power for over a month. The restrictions have forced companies across the province to shut down for a few days per week. Some local authorities are warning that power rationing could last through the end of the year.

It’s not just Guangdong. At least nine provinces have said they are dealing with similar issues, including Yunnan, Guangxi and the manufacturing hub of Zhejiang, forcing regional authorities to announce power curbs across an area of China the size of the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan combined.

The power crunch even contributed to a slowdown in factory activity growth in China in June,…

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