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China offers to help Bangladesh keep lights on as outages bite

Envoy says Beijing wouldn't 'sit idle' if industry-crippling power crisis worsens

A pharmacy serves customers by candlelight during a blackout in Dhaka in early October.   © Reuters

DHAKA -- Bangladesh is reeling from a worsening power crisis that plunges homes and factories into darkness for hours, prompting China to offer to come forward with fuel supplies if push comes to shove.

The South Asian nation, where the government had trumpeted reaching 100% electricity coverage in March, is now failing to meet its minimum electricity needs. The crisis deepened after the government stopped importing liquefied natural gas from the spot market due to soaring prices, and shut oil-run power plants to cut imports and preserve dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

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