Snowstorm Disrupts Chinese Travel, Power

Holdup comes week before Lunar New Year travel season
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2008 7:14 AM CST
Passengers crowd Wuhan Railway Station, in central China's Hubei province, Monday Jan. 28, 2008. Forecasters warned of more snowstorms in central and eastern China, telling local governments to brace...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The biggest snowstorm in 50 years is wreaking havoc with China’s transportation and power-supply infrastructure and triggering widespread shortages the week before the Lunar New Year. Over a foot of snow fell in Nanjing, reports Bloomberg. "We face a very severe situation in ensuring supplies of coal, electricity, oil and transportation,'' said a government spokesman.

As many as 5% of China's coal-fired power plants, which generate 78% of the nation's electricity, were shut because snow blocked shipments of coal. Power shortages are a perennial problem in China, and may force the government to remove price caps aimed at controlling inflation. These latest developments will likely push up near-term inflation to levels "that will be very uncomfortable for policy makers and China's investors,” said an investment analyst.