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Profit of cement industry surges sharply
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China's cement industry posted a remarkable profit surge last year, amid government's macro control measures to cool down an economy that could be facing overheating.


Total output hit 1.35 billion tons last year, up 13.5 percent from a year earlier. Sales revenue grew 23.1 percent from 2006 to reach 410.4 billion yuan (US$57 billion), according to the latest figure released by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).


NDRC predicted the yearly net profit for 2007 will jump more than 60 percent to 24 billion yuan thanks to a price rise and the growth in fixed asset investment growth.


Cement prices have been rising since last November in most large and medium-sized cities in China, with the highest price topping 600 yuan per ton. The wholesale prices of major cement producers rose 10 yuan in general from 2006.


The fixed asset investment growth in the sector grew by 33 percent from the previous year to 65.4 billion yuan after falling for two straight years, NDRC said in a report


That gave rise to more than 80 million tons of capacity increase last year.


The industry reshuffle picked up speed, as the NDRC noted in the report, with large-sized producers accounting for 55 percent of the total, up 5 percent from a year earlier amid merges and acquisitions in the sector. The top ten producers churn out 23 percent of the national total, up 3 percent from the end of 2006.


Outmoded factories with obsolete production facilities were closed last year, losing a capacity of 52 million tons, to cut pollution and raise efficiency, the NDRC noted.


The NDRC said exports dropped 8.6 percent year-on-year to 33 million tons last year as a result of export refund cut.


The Chinese government has tried to prevent the economy from overheating. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) head Xie Fuzhan said there was still a risk that China's economy could shift from rapid growth to overheating this year, with growing inflationary pressure.


China's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 11.4 percent year-on-year to 24.6619 trillion yuan (US$3.43 trillion) in 2007, but the risks of spiraling inflation and economic overheating were also rising. Last year also witnessed accelerated growth in fixed-asset investment nationwide, with the real estate sector leading the way.


Spending on fixed assets totaled 13.72 trillion yuan, up 24.8 percent, or 0.9 percentage points more than in 2006.


(Xinhua News Agency February 16, 2008)

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