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China's industrial profits decline in March

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BEIJING, April 27 (Xinhua) -- Chinese factories continued to post shrinking profits in March but the decline was less than in the first two month of the year as major sectors picked up, according to official data released on Monday.

The profits of industrial businesses dipped 0.4 percent year on year to 509 billion yuan (83 billion U.S. dollars) in March, improving markedly from a 4.2-percent slump between January and February, showed the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data.

Dragged down by the poor performance in the first two months, industrial profits shrank by 2.7 percent in Q1 to 1.25 trillion yuan.

NBS statistician He Ping attributed the improvement to lower raw material prices and operating costs, along with higher investment returns.

Some major sectors did well. The profits of companies involved in oil processing, coking and nuclear fuel processing increased by 10.7 billion yuan from a year ago, a sharp contrast to a drop of nearly 30 billion yuan in the Jan.-Feb. period.

Auto manufacturing, crude and natural gas exploitation, coal mining and chemical products also posted better profitability.

However, He warned of a grim outlook for industrial enterprises due to sluggish demand, slowing output, dropping prices and feeble growth in core business turnover.

Enterprises will be also confronted with piling inventories and rising receivables caused by weak sales, He added.

The bureau's calculations consider companies with annual revenues exceeding 20 million yuan.

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