China’s industrial profits extend gains for 4th month in Nov

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s industrial profits extended gains for a fourth straight month in November, even as weakening demand ate into business growth expectations, emboldening calls for more policy support.

The 29.5% profit rise came on top of a 2.7% increase in October, adding to mixed messages on the economy, which posted robust growth in industrial output while missing forecasts on other fronts.

Industrial earnings shrank 4.4% in the first 11 months of 2023 from a year earlier, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data showed on Wednesday.

With a slew of pro-growth measures in place to buttress a patchy post-COVID recovery, the world’s second-largest economy looks en route to achieve its growth target of around 5% for this year.

Officials were also confident about more favourable economic conditions in 2024. But the recovery remains on shaky ground amid persistent property sector weakness, rising deflationary pressures and other woes, renewing calls for stimulus.

Citing intensified competition and weaker-than-expected downstream demand, Chinese chemicals producer Do-Fluoride New Materials Co expected 2023 net profit to fall by between 68.17% to 71.25%.

State-owned firms saw their earnings down 6.2% in the first 11 months, foreign firms reported an 8.7% fall and private-sector companies posted a 1.6% gain, according to a breakdown of the data.

Industrial profit numbers cover firms with annual revenues of at least 20 million yuan ($2.80 million) from their main operations.

($1 = 7.1339 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Qiaoyi Li and Ryan Woo. Editing by Sam Holmes)