Manufacturing profit growth slows
THE profit growth rate of China’s manufacturing companies slowed in April, but inventory pressures eased, according to figures released yesterday by the National Bureau of Statistics.
The companies’ combined net profit for the month rose 4.2 percent year on year to 502.1 billion yuan (US$76.5 billion), slowing from an 11.1 percent rise in March, the bureau said.
Profit for the first four months grew 6.5 percent from last year to 1.8 trillion yuan.
Meanwhile, the inventory of industrial products at the end of April fell 1.2 percent year on year, its first decline in “recent years,” the bureau said, without providing absolute figures.
“Despite the slower pace of growth in April, industrial companies managed to reverse the profit decline recorded in the second half of last year,” said He Ping, a researcher at the bureau.
The April data also revealed “positive changes in the profitability of industrial companies,” he said, adding that the “easing of inventory pressure might help to boost production.”
Other positive signs included a faster-than-average 21.6 percent profit growth in the first four months for high-tech manufacturers, and a slower profit decline for steel and non-ferrous metal industries.
He attributed the cooler growth to slower sales products, a dip in investment returns, and weaker profitability in electronics, electric power and the auto industries.
Investment income fell 19.8 percent year on year in April, compared with a 20.4 percent increase in March, while non-operating income rose 56.2 percent in April, slowing from 68.3 percent a month earlier, the NBS said.
The combined profits of state-owned manufacturers decreased by 7.8 percent year on year to 326.6 billion yuan in the first four months, while those of private firms grew 8.4 percent to 662.6 billion yuan, it said.
Of the 41 industries tracked, profits in the January-April period grew at 33 — led by energy and steel processors — and fell in eight, with coal miners the worst hit, recording a 92.2 percent slump.
The industrial profit data were in line with other economic indicators for April, which pointed to a still fragile growth momentum in investment, exports, consumer spending and manufacturing.