China’s industrial profit declines accelerate in Jan-Aug By Reuters

© Reuters. Pedestrians cast their shadows on a wall at a construction site in Beijing December 12, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/

BEIJING (Reuters) -Profits at China’s industrial firms shrank at a faster pace in January-August, as strict COVID restrictions and a deepening property slump weighed on domestic demand and heatwaves curbed factory activity.

Profits fell 2.1% in the first eight months of 2022 from a year earlier, after a 1.1% drop logged in January-July, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released on Tuesday.

The bureau did not report standalone figures for August.

China’s economy showed surprising resilience in August, with faster-than-expected growth in factory output and retail sales, but a property crisis and COVID lockdowns weighed on the outlook.

Analysts say there is little chance China will relax its zero-COVID policy before the Communist Party Congress in October.

In late August, cities from Shenzhen to Chengdu and Dalian rolled out COVID curbs aimed at stamping out fresh outbreaks.

China’s industrial output rose 4.2% from a year earlier in August, quickening from a 3.8% rise in July.

Liabilities at industrial firms jumped 10.0% from a year earlier in August, slightly slower than the 10.5% growth in July.

China’s southwestern Sichuan province and Chongqing city rationed power used for industrial production in August, as drought curtailed hydropower generation while residents ramped up electricity used to escape worst heatwaves.

Energy-intensive manufacturers, including Apple (NASDAQ:) supplier Foxconn and top battery maker CATL, suspended output in Sichuan- and Chongqing-based plants.

China’s cabinet in late August offered another slew of stimulus to revive the faltering economy, including raising the quota on policy financing tools by 300 billion yuan.

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

($1 = 7.1584 )

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