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China's power production numbers hint at economic contraction

Double-digit drop in electricity output bodes ill for first quarter GDP

TOKYO -- The latest numbers from China's state-owned power generators and the coal miners that supply them point to zero or even negative first-quarter growth for Asia's biggest economy.

The data comes as China is due to release its GDP figure for January-March on Friday. Authorities have been keen to paint a picture of economic recovery from the devastating coronavirus outbreak, but figures showing a sharp drop in power generation -- the basis of economic activity -- tell a different story.

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