China's electricity use rose significantly in the first quarter of the year, signalling a pick-up in economic activities, the country's top economic planner said Thursday.
"Power consumption rose 6.9 percent year on year in the first three quarters of this year, 3.7 percentage points higher than the same period last year," said Yan Pengcheng, spokesperson of the National Development and Reform Commission.
In March alone, power use rose 7.9 percent year on year to 513.9 billion kilowatt hours, 2.3 percentage points higher than the level a year ago, Yan told a press conference.
Electricity use in the primary industry climbed by 10.1 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, while power consumption in the secondary industry went up 7.6 percent. The tertiary industry and residential power consumption saw slower growth in the quarter, rising 7.8 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively, he said.
Power use growth in the tertiary industry was 3.2 percentage points lower than the level of first quarter 2016, though high-tech industries saw rapid rises, with information transmission, computer services and software sectors recording 13.3 percent growth in energy consumption, according to Yan.
"China's economic development is off to a good start in the first quarter of this year with market expectations improving and the employment situation steady," he said.