Further slump of Japan's energy demand

Japan's energy consumption is decreasing further. The country's industrial utilization rate has recorded four consecutive months year-on-year decrease since June, and its GDP growth rate fell 3.5% on year in the third quarter. Moreover, current sluggish energy demand suggests further slump of industrial activities.

Weekly crude oil processing data announced by the Petroleum Association of Japan is sinking deeply after the last week of October. The latest number was 8.4% decrease on year, the biggest decline since January this year.

The January change was based on comparison to the period when the severe earthquake still had not damaged Japanese economy. Meanwhile recent figures are change from post-quake crude oil processing.

Although fuel oil demand for thermal power generation has surged in Japan due to the shortage of nuclear power supply, total petroleum demand is decreasing. It means demand for gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products is significantly weaker.

Shutdowns at nationwide nuclear power plants are weighing on electricity consumption in Japan, however, fears about power supply shortage are fading after the country got over the summer without nuclear power.

Since power demand is in very low level during autumn typically, Japanese electricity consumers are able to use power without any worries. But Japan's electricity demand fell 1.8% on year in October after recorded 0.4% on year decrease in September, according to the Federation of Electric Power Companies.

Then, combined electricity supply by three major utility firms in the first half of November fell 3.0% from a year ago. Total power supply by Tokyo Electric Power, Kansai Electric Power and Chubu Electric Power accounts for about 60% of entire Japan's supply.

Current situation of energy demand seems to be realizing the predictions of further decline of Japanese GDP growth in the 4Q. Will the result of coming general election change the downward tendency?

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