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China's industrial profits up 22.8% in first nine months

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨Xinhua

10-27-2017 17:11 BJT

BEIJING — China's major industrial firms posted faster profit growth in the first three quarters of the year.

Industrial companies with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan ($3 million) reported profits of 5.58 trillion yuan in the first nine months, up 22.8 percent from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Friday.

The growth was faster than the 21.6 percent in January-August, and the 21.2 percent in January-July.

In September alone, profits of major industrial firms rose 27.7 percent year-on-year, much faster than the 24 percent growth in August and 16.5 percent in July, it said.

Among the 41 industries surveyed, 39 posted year-on-year profit growth in the first three quarters.

Companies in power, liquor, and electronics saw rapid growth, together contributing 3.8 percentage points to the uptick in growth in September compared with the previous month.

China has been shifting away from a growth model that depended on heavy investment and led to the rapid build-up of debt, especially on the balance sheets of industrial state-owned firms.

Through cutting excess capacity, reducing leverage ratio and improving corporate governance, China is pursuing high quality and sustained development rather than just high speed growth.

Friday's data showed that major state-controlled industrial firms reported profits of 1.26 trillion yuan in the first nine months, up 47.6 percent.

Innovation and high-tech is also becoming a new growth driver. In the first three quarters, revenue from the main businesses of industrial companies in high-tech manufacturing rose 13.5 percent year-on-year, higher than average, while revenue growth of many "strategic emerging industries" also outpaced the average.

"As we push supply-side structural reform, the quality and efficiency at the supply end has been constantly improving," said NBS statistician He Ping.

He attributed the rapid growth partly to faster expansion in both production and sales, as well as price increases in industrial products.

In September, China's industrial output rose 6.6 percent year-on-year, higher than the 6 percent growth in August. Revenue from main businesses of industrial firms rose 10.8 percent, also higher than the rate registered a month ago.

China's producer price index, which measures costs of goods at the factory gate, rose 6.9 percent year-on-year in September, 0.6 percentage points higher than in August.

The price rebound has added some 652.6 billion yuan to the operating income of industrial firms, resulting in a net increase of 136.2 billion yuan in profits after costs were deducted.

He also said that profitability of the companies had improved with lower costs and expenses. In the first nine months, costs per 100 yuan of revenue dropped 0.23 yuan from the same period last year, while expenses per 100 yuan of revenue went down 0.27 yuan.

The leverage ratio, a measure of financial risk, declined amid government deleveraging efforts. By the end of September, the debt-asset ratio of firms dropped 0.6 percentage points from a year ago to 55.7 percent.

The medium-high growth of major industrial firms will leave room for companies to further reduce leverage, boost consumption through increased household income and potentially stimulate research and development expenditure in the future, according to a China Merchants Securities research note.

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