East China's business hub Shanghai reported a temperature of minus 5.9 degrees Celsius in its downtown Saturday, the lowest for 18 years, as a cold snap swept China from north to south, the municipal meteorological observatory said.

The temperature in the Xujiahui area in downtown Shanghai reached minus 5.9 degrees Celsius early Saturday, the lowest since 1992, the city's Central Meteorological Observatory said. Records show the lowest temperature in downtown Shanghai was minus 8 degrees Celsius in 1991.

The observatory said the city's temperatures would also be below minus 5 degrees Celsius Sunday, the eve of Chinese New Year. But it forecast the city's temperatures would rise from Monday.

China Central Meteorological Observatory forecast the cold snap, which has caused a temperature drop of about 15 degrees Celsius in parts of east and south China, would end Sunday.