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China's industrial profits fall in Q1 under virus strain

日期: 2020-04-28
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BEIJING -- Profits of China's major industrial firms dropped in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020 with signs of improvement in March amid efforts to coordinate COVID-19 containment and economic growth, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed Monday.

Profits of industrial companies with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan (about $2.83 million) totaled 781.45 billion yuan in Q1, down 36.7 percent year on year, NBS said in a statement.

The contraction narrowed from the 38.3-percent decline in the first two months, NBS data showed.

In breakdown, profits of the manufacturing and mining industries went down 38.9 percent and 27.5 percent, respectively, while that of the production and supply of electricity, thermal power, gas and water reported a year-on-year decrease of 28.6 percent.

Industrial profits warmed in March as stepped-up work and production resumption nationwide drove up sales for industrial products, said NBS official Zhang Weihua, pointing to bright spots in the readings.

While profits in 39 of the 41 industrial sectors surveyed fell in Q1 from the same period last year, 28 sectors saw their profit growth improve or pullback soften in March, according to the NBS.

Electronic product manufacturers, along with liquor, beverages and tea makers, reversed Jan-Feb profit slumps to expand 19.5 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively.

Industrial firms in the high-tech manufacturing sector achieved profit rebound with a 0.5-percent growth in March after the 37.1-percent fall in the first two months.

Companies in the daily necessities sector registered significant profit improvement in March, said Zhang, noting that profits of the non-staple food processing sector grew 28.7 percent in March, up from 2.2 percent in the first two months.

Profits of private and small industrial firms, as well as that of overseas-funded companies, also narrowed their profit slump in March from the Jan.-Feb. period, according to the NBS.

Despite improvement last month, the profit decline in Q1 remained relatively steep due to factors including mounting stockpile, falling factory-gate prices, rising costs as well as market demand, which has yet to fully recover from COVID-19 impact, said Zhang.

Revenue of the major industrial firms amounted to 19.86 trillion yuan in Q1, down 15.1 percent year on year, and their business costs skidded 14.6 percent to 16.83 trillion yuan during the period.

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