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China January - February Industrial Profits Surge 32 Percent As Commodity Prices Rally
Profits of Chinese industrial firms surged 31.5% in the first two months of 2017 from a year earlier as prices of commodities from coal to iron ore raced higher, while strong imports also pointed to a pick-up in activity. Stronger earnings could give a further boost to fixed-asset investment, which quickened early in the year, and give China's "smokestack" industries more cash flow to start whittling away at a mountain of debt -- a key government priority this year. Total industrial profits over the first two months of the year were 1.01 trillion yuan ($147 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement on Monday.
The increase was mostly due to faster growth in prices of coal, steel and crude oil, He Ping, a statistics bureau official, said in a note accompanying the statement. The pace of profit growth picked up sharply from a 2.3% increase in December.