China state firms' profit growth slows slightly in Jan-Oct

Politics Reuters

Annual profit growth at China's state firms moderated to 10.1 percent in the first 10 months of the year from 10.5 in the January-September period, official data showed on Wednesday, underlining a stabilization in the economy.

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State-owned non-financial companies made combined profits of 1.97 trillion yuan ($323.3 billion) for the January-October period, the finance ministry said in a statement published on its website, www.mof.gov.cn

A reform document released by the Communist Party following a four-day conclave of its top leaders pledged to raise the proportion of dividends paid out by state companies to the public to 30 percent by 2020 to address income inequality.

The world's second-largest economy grew at its quickest pace this year between July and September, underpinned by investment, although analysts question whether the vigor would last through coming months.

Firms owned by the central government posted an annual rise of 13.9 percent in profits in the first 10 months while companies owned by local governments reported an increase of 1.1 percent.

Companies in electronics, power, property development, transport and automobile sectors reported strong year-on-year profit growth.

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In contrast, firms in the nonferrous metal, petrochemical, coal and mechanical industries suffered a drop in earnings, the ministry said.

Total assets of state firms rose 13.4 percent in the first 10 months to 89.4 trillion yuan, while debts increased 14 percent to 58.4 trillion yuan, it added.

State firms retain their dominance in China's key industries even though the government has long promised to allow in private investment to boost economic growth.

($1 = 6.0927 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Jonathan Standing; Editing by Miral Fahmy)