An acceleration in industrial output helped foster a moderate improvement in the overall performance of Chinese industry in the first four months of this year, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday.
"Profitability of the industrial sector improved, the downward trend in business profits eased and progress was made in matching production and sales," the bureau said in a statement.
The composite index measuring overall profitability of industrial businesses rose by a slim 0.9 of a point from a year earlier to 117 points and was 4.3 points up on the first quarter, it said.
Despite the improvement in business profitability, overall industrial profits - after the deduction of total losses in the sector - continued to shrink.
They slumped to 123.8 billion yuan (US$14.9 billion), 2.4 percent down from the same period last year.
But the fall in profits was not as sharp - from a much faster 9.1 percent decline in the first quarter.
China's gross domestic product grew by 7.6 percent in the first quarter, reversing a nearly year-long slowdown.
But economists warned falling industrial profits may pose a threat to this year's economic growth target of 7 percent.
There were relatively strong increases in profits in the sectors of mining, tobacco, transport equipment manufacturing and pharmaceutical production.
(China Daily May 25, 2002)