China's Jan-Sept industrial profits fall at faster pace

By Reuters   October 26, 2022 | 06:45 pm PT
China's Jan-Sept industrial profits fall at faster pace
A worker rides on a vehicle carrying pipes past an industrial park in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China, September 30, 2021. Photo by Reuters/Tingshu Wang
Profits at China's industrial firms fell at a faster clip in the January-September period as Covid-19 curbs and a worsening property crisis continued to weigh heavily on factory activity.

Profits fell 2.3% in the first nine months of 2022 from a year earlier, after a 2.1% drop in the January-August period, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released on Thursday.

The bureau did not report standalone figures for September and August, but said in a separate statement that the decline in profits at industrial firms in September narrowed by 6.0 percentage points compared with the previous month.

After nearly contracting in spring, China's third-quarter economic growth was faster than expected, helped by a raft of government measures.

September activity data showed strong industrial output, but prolonged property woes, slower exports and stubbornly weak retail sales are clouding the outlook for a more robust recovery in the longer term.

Last month, China's industrial output jumped 6.3% from a year earlier, outstripping expectations for 4.5% growth and a 4.2% expansion in August.

Despite better-than-expected third quarter GDP growth, analysts at Goldman Sachs cut their fourth quarter growth forecast to 3.5% on a quarter-on-quarter annualized basis from 5.0% previously.

"High-frequency data including emerging industries PMI (EPMI), new home sales, auto sales, transportation and long holiday tourism revenue pointed to a likely weak start in Q4," Goldman Sachs analysts said.

Industrial profits data covers large firms with annual revenues above 20 million yuan ($2.79 million) from their main operations.

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