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China industrial profits maintain double-digit growth in March

CHINA'S major industrial firms continued to post double-digit growth in March, adding to signs of a stabilizing Chinese economy, official data showed Thursday.

The companies reported a 23.8-percent year-on-year profit growth last month, slowing from 31.5 percent in January and February but still much faster than the 8.5-percent increase in 2016, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

In the first three months of the year, profits of major industrial firms rose 28.3 percent year on year, the NBS said in a statement.

The industrial sector, which accounts for about a third of China's GDP, started to pick up last year after profit declines in 2015, helped by government efforts to cut overcapacity and a recovery of the property industry.

Value-added industrial output expanded 6.8 percent year-on-year in the first three months, accelerating from 6.3 percent in January and February, and 6 percent in 2016.

"The sector was off to a good start in the first quarter, with some indicators, industries and regions performing better than expected," Zheng Lixin, spokesperson of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said Wednesday.

In the first quarter of 2017, major industrial firms saw profitability of their primary business edge up 0.68 percentage points to 6.13 percent, while their debt-asset ratio dropped 0.7 percentage points to 56.2 percent.

During the period, the manufacturing industry reaped 1.49 trillion yuan (216.2 billion U.S. dollars) of profits, accounting for 87.5 percent of overall industrial profits, and up 23.4 percent year on year.

China's GDP expanded 6.9 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2017, up from the 6.8-percent growth in the previous quarter and 6.7 percent in 2016.

It also beat previous market expectations of 6.8 percent and came well above the annual growth target of around 6.5 percent.


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