Business

Chinese industrial profits fall to lowest level on record

Profits at Chinese industrial firms fell by 8.8 per cent in August compared to a year earlier, the largest decline on record.
Profits at Chinese industrial companies have been hard hit in part by the devaluation of the yuan, which has caused the cost of doing business in China to skyrocket. (Chinatopix/Associated Press)

Profits at Chinese industrial firms fell by 8.8 per cent in August compared to a year earlier, the largest decline on record.

Data out of Beijing's official statistics agency showed Monday that the decline in profitability was the largest drop since the country started publicly releasing that data in October 2011.

The agency cited rising costs and falling prices for the drop-off. Lower prices are a global phenomenon, but rising costs are a particular problem in China right now because of the devaluation of the country's currency. Investment bank Nomura noted that the yuan has declined by 23 per cent during the period, which eats into profits even if a company is able to sell the same amount.

"The RMB increased financing costs of external-oriented enterprises," the bank said.

Mining company profits in China have plunged by almost two thirds since January. Energy companies fared little better, with oil and gas profits tumbling 67 per cent.

State-owned firms fared especially poorly, with profits down 24.7 per cent. Private companies, meanwhile, eked out a small growth of seven per cent, but their ranks are not very large.

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