* Power output stands at 504.8 bln kWh in July
* Boosted by near 30 pct yearly jump in hydropower
* But slowing economy hits demand from steelmakers, autos
SHANGHAI, Aug 13 Chinese power generation grew
3.3 percent in July from a year earlier, but the rate of
increase eased from the month before as a slowing economy hit
production in power-intensive sectors such as steel, autos and
Power output in the world's top consumer was 504.8 billion
kilowatt hours (kWh) in July, boosted by a near 30 percent
yearly jump in hydropower generation as thermal production fell,
data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.
Year-on-year growth in power generation eased from a
5.7-percent rate posted in June. Compared to a month ago,
however, output rose 10.2 percent, helped by increased
air-conditioner usage during the searing summer heat.
Other data released on Wednesday showed China's industrial
output rose 9 percent in July from a year earlier, as expected,
while fixed-asset investment, an important driver of economic
activity, missed forecasts to grow 17 percent in the first seven
months from the same period last year, the bureau said.
China's annual economic growth edged up to 7.5 percent in
the second quarter of 2014 after hitting an 18-month low of 7.4
percent in the first quarter. Some economists believe further
stimulus may be needed to sustain the recovery and offset the
drag from the cooling property market.
The rise in July output brings total power generation in the
first seven months of the year to 3.12 trillion kWh, data
showed, up 5.5 percent from a year ago.
China's thermal coal sector has been hit by a triple whammy
of a slackening economy, stubborn oversupply and Beijing's
aggressive anti-pollution campaign, which has seen gas and
renewables take a growing market share in overall power
Benchmark coal prices on the Bohai-Bay Index for coal with
an energy value of 5,500 kcal/kg have fallen over 20 percent
this year to stand at 482 yuan ($78.24) a tonne this week, the
lowest in more than six years.
Local media has reported that the steady fall in coal prices
may prompt the National Development and Reform Commission to cut
on-grid power tariffs - a move that could threaten profits of
China's top five power groups and cut their profits by 1 billion
yuan ($162.3 million) each in the second half of the year.
Under a new coal-power price linkage system implemented
since 2013, power tariffs would be adjusted if coal prices rise
or fall more than 5 percent during a six-month period.
The China Electric Council in July cut its forecast for 2014
power consumption growth to between 5.5-6.5 percent, down from
its February estimate of 7 percent and a rise of 7.5 percent in
(Reporting by Fayen Wong; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman
and Joseph Radford)