India recorded the largest single-day spike (78,761) of new COVID-19 cases on Sunday since the pandemic began. The country is easing out of strict lockdowns despite an accelerating virus pandemic—a move to restart its crashed economy that saw a record plunge in second-quarter growth. But new power generation data from the government, seen by Reuters, reveals power usage in the western industrial region of the country continues to slump, a red flag that is suggestive of a faltering recovery.
For the sixth consecutive month, India’s electricity generation continued to decline in August, driven by a drop in power usage from western industrial states such as Maharashtra and Gujarat:
August power generation fell 0.9%, a Reuters analysis of daily load despatch data from federal grid operator POSOCO showed, slower than the 1.8% decline seen in July.
In the second half of August, electricity generation declined 4.5%, compared with a 2.6% increase during the first fifteen days of the month.
Power use during the second half of August in states such as Maharashtra and Gujarat, among the country’s largest electricity consumers, declined by about 15% each, compared to near parity compared to August 2019 during the first 15 days of the month. -Reuters
Reuters notes India’s annual electricity demand is expected to fall for the first time in four decades. The industrial sector accounts for half the country’s electricity consumption. This is just more bad news for the world’s fifth-largest economy by GDP will remain in recession through 2020. The world economy cannot recover without India.
A flare-up in geopolitical tensions between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control could be what the Modi government needs to distract the world from a severely damaged Indian economy.