BEIJING -- China's electricity consumption, an important indicator of economic activity, fell 1.3 percent year on year in July to 503.4 billion kilowatt hours (kwh), the National Energy Administration announced Friday.
This brings total power consumption in the first seven months of the year to 3166.8 billion kwh, up 0.8 percent year on year.
July's power consumption declined from the previous month for the first time since March, which was mainly caused by holiday distortion.
From April to June, growth in nationwide electricity consumption increased, although the growth rate was still low.
Power use rose 1.8 percent year on year to 472.3 billion kwh in June, up slightly from a 1.6-percent rise in May and a 1.3-percent rise in April.
In July, power use in primary industries surged 7 percent while secondary industries saw a decrease of 3.3 percent and usage by the tertiary industry grew 4.4 percent.
Meanwhile, residential power consumption grew 3.8 percent year on year.
The decline in power usage in secondary industries indicated continued downward pressure in China's industrial sector, said Shan Baoguo, a researcher with the State Grid Energy Research Institute.
The relatively cool weather in July, and frequent rainfall in southern China, compounded the lukewarm industrial activity, Shan said.
Sluggish external demand and a slowdown in exports, which dragged down industrial production, as well as the high base data registered last July, all resulted in July's power consumption shrinkage, said Jiang Yuan, analyst with the National Bureau of Statistics.
This also shows the structural adjustment of China's economy and power consumption, Jiang said.
China's economy posted 7-percent growth year on year in the second quarter of 2015, unchanged from the first quarter and the lowest quarterly growth rate since 2009.