Profits at China’s industrial firms grew at a faster pace in October, the statistics bureau said on Saturday, providing a buffer for a faltering economy battered by soaring raw material prices.
Profits in October rose 24.6% from a year earlier to 818.7 billion yuan ($128.1 billion), the official data showed, quickening from a 16.3% gain reported in September.
For the January-October period, industrial firms’ profits rose 42.2% year-on-year to 7.2 trillion yuan, slower than a 44.7% rise in the first nine months of 2021.
The industrial profit data covers large firms with annual revenues of over 20 million yuan from their main operations.
Government efforts to ensure supply and stabilize prices helped companies mitigate difficulties, which in turned helped improve production conditions and profits, said Zhu Hong a senior statistician at the National Bureau of Statistics.
However, he said profit differentiation between upstream and downstream industries had not significantly improved, with downstream industries still facing pressures on their profitability.
Prices in China have surged amid a power crunch and Beijing has been trying to cool a red-hot market for coal, the country’s main fuel for power generation.
However, an official from China’s state planner said last Sunday that “energy prices including, coal prices have fallen significantly” and have pushed down prices for steel, aluminium, pulp, PVC and coal chemical products.
The world’s second-largest economy staged an impressive rebound from last year’s pandemic slump, but has since lost momentum as it grapples with a slowing manufacturing sector, debt problems in the property market and COVID-19 outbreaks.
China’s industrial output grew faster than expected in October but remained the second lowest print this year.
On Friday, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information (MIIT) Technology held a meeting with representatives from industry associations and companies including Aluminium Corp of China and China Minmetals Corp to discuss issues in the raw materials industry, it said in a Saturday statement on its official WeChat account.
The development of the upstream and downstream should be better coordinated to ensure the stability of the supply chain, and the industry’s risk response capabilities should be strengthened to prevent “grey rhino” and “black swan” incidents, it quoted MIIT vice minister Wang Jiangping as saying.