BEIJING, Jan. 7 -- China curbed electricity use because of coal shortages as icy weather continued to grip the Northern Hemisphere.
China will be hit by a new cold front this weekend, with snowstorms forecast for the provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui, Henan and Hubei on Jan. 9, China National Radio reported. Mexico will have "severe winter" weather. In the U.S., frigid air sent orange-juice futures up as much as 4.3 percent to a two-year high yesterday and natural gas jumped to a 13-month peak.
"The cold weather is hitting a lot of the more populated areas, such as western and northern Europe, a lot of the eastern U.S.," Bob Tarr, a meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc., said in a telephone interview yesterday. "It's a rare pattern, and unusual to see this cold weather affecting a number of major population centers and persisting for about three weeks."
The Chinese provinces of Jiangsu, Hubei, Henan, Hunan and Jiangxi and the municipalities of Shanghai and Chongqing have limited electricity consumption because of fuel shortages, the official Xinhua News Agency said today, without giving details.
Some aluminum smelters in Henan, the largest producing province, received notices from power suppliers to prepare for stoppages, according to CRU International Ltd. China is the world's biggest maker of aluminum used in homes and cars.
There have been "periodic power supply disruptions" in provinces including Henan and Hunan, though the impact "is not serious" so far, Wan Ling, a Beijing-based analyst, said by phone today. She declined to identify the smelters affected.