China March Industrial Profits Fall 0.4%

Profits earned by Chinese industrial firms fell 0.4 percent in March from a year earlier to 508.61 billion yuan ($82 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday.  That compared with a 4.2 percent year-on-year fall in the first two months of the year.

For the first quarter of the year, profits declined 2.7 percent from a year earlier to 1.25 trillion yuan, the bureau said.  “Despite the narrowed decline in profits, the operational situation of industrial enterprises remained grave,” He Ping, an official at the bureau said in a statement, adding that sluggish demand and falling product prices have pressured earnings.

The NBS attributed the narrower decline in profits last month to a deeper fall in raw material prices and lower financing costs cost after the central bank cut interest rates.  Prices of raw materials fell 5.7 percent from a year earlier in March, 0.2 percentage point more than in the first two months of this year, helping profit margins, the bureau said.