A well-placed executive in China said three of the largest coal storage facilities in are sitting on record levels of inventory, The New York Times reported Saturday.
An expert in energy consumption in China, Rohan Kendall at global consulting firm Wood Mackenzie, said coal inventories were also reaching record levels at the port of Qinhuangdao with supplies there topping 9.5 million tons. That surpasses the previous record of 9.3 million tons, set in November 2008, near the bottom of the global financial downturn.
The buildup in coal indicates that factories have slowed down, the Times reported.
As the evidence of a slowdown in electricity consumption literally piles up, other experts note that China's official data reporting has long been taken with a grain of salt.
Goldman Sachs, among others, have concluded that economic data from China is not the most reliable. Some of the data is simply based on officials who don't want to report negative data to the government.
Skepticism about economic data from China also comes from Beijing, although not officially. Media activist Web site WikiLeaks has released a diplomatic cable from Li Keqiang, who called some of the government's economic statistics "man-made."
Li is considered to be the next in line to become China's premier this fall, the Times said.