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Chinese industrial profits drop for fifth month

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BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Profits for major Chinese industrial firms continued to fall in August, weighed down by sluggish markets both at home and abroad, official data showed Thursday.

Profits for major industrial companies, or those with annual revenues of more than 20 million yuan (3.15 million U.S. dollars), fell 6.2 percent year on year to 381.2 billion yuan in August, marking the fifth straight month of declines, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement.

The figure also represented the largest monthly decrease for the past five months.

In the first eight months, profits for industrial firms fell 3.1 percent from a year earlier to 3.06 trillion yuan, 0.4 percentage points greater than the decrease for the first seven months.

Profits for state-run industrial enterprises, joint ventures and overseas-invested companies dropped, while private and collectively-owned firms recorded profit gains, the figures showed.

State-run firms saw profits decline 12.7 percent year on year in the first eight months. Private sector profits grew 15.1 percent.

Profits for foreign-funded companies and those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan fell 12.7 percent year on year to 703.4 billion yuan.

Out of 41 industry categories, 24 reported year-on-year profit gains, while 16 saw profits fall and one saw a loss, the figures showed.

The ferrous metal sector was hit the hardest, as profits slumped by 67.4 percent year on year. Oil refining, coking and nuclear fuel processing companies saw profits turn into losses.

Profits in the power generation and auto manufacturing sectors, however, increased 36.5 percent and 10.8 percent, respectively.

The main business revenues of major industrial firms in the first eight months totaled 57.64 trillion yuan, up 10.2 percent from a year earlier, the figures showed.

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