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China's industrial profits down 19.3% in first five months

Updated: Jun 28,2020 11:20    Xinhua

BEIJING — Profits of China's major industrial firms dropped 19.3 percent year-on-year in the first five months of 2020 due to the COVID-19 impact, official data showed on June 27. 

Profits of industrial companies with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan (about $2.8 million) totaled 1.84 trillion yuan during the January-May period, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The contraction narrowed from the 27.4 percent decline in the first four months, NBS data showed.

In the January-May period, profits in 10 of the 41 industrial sectors surveyed logged year-on-year increases, while 30 sectors saw their profits fall, according to the NBS.

In breakdown, profits of the mining and manufacturing industries went down 43.6 percent and 16.6 percent year-on-year, respectively, while that of the production and supply of electricity, thermal power, gas and water reported a year-on-year decrease of 16.7 percent.

In May alone, industrial profits went up 6 percent from same period last year, comparing to a 4.3 percent decrease registered in April.

Efficiency of major industrial firms continued to improve in May as the restoration of work and production progresses, NBS statistician Zhu Hong said.

Zhu attributed the rebound in industrial profits last month to factors including eased pressure on costs, prices changes of industrial products and the profit improvement in key industries such as petroleum processing, electricity and steel. 

Increasing investment returns last month also contributed to the improvement, Zhu added.

However, market demand remains weak due to the COVID-19 impact, Zhu said, noting that the sustainability of the industrial profits growth awaits further observation.

Earlier data showed China's economic activities continued to normalize as the industrial output, retail sales and investment reported across-the-board improvements, but the recovery still faces uncertainties and challenges from the global spread of the novel coronavirus.

The industrial sector was among the quickest to rebound from the impact of the virus with the value-added industrial output up 4.4 percent year-on-year in May, extending the rebound and up 0.5 percentage points from April.