China industrial profits drop 1.1% in first seven months of 2022

SHANGHAI: Profits at China's industrial firms sank in July, reversing previous gains as fresh COVID-19 curbs dragged down demand and squeezed factory margins, while power shortages due to heatwaves threatened production.

Profits at China's industrial firms fell 1.1 per cent in January-July from a year earlier, wiping out the 1.0 per cent growth logged during the first six months, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Saturday.

The bureau did not report standalone figures for July.

Factory production and activities in major manufacturing hubs like Shenzhen and Tianjin were hit in the month as fresh COVID curbs were imposed, Reuters reported.

In July, China's industrial output growth slowed to 3.8 per cent on-year from 3.9 per cent in June.

Searing heatwaves have swept across China's vast Yangtze River basin since mid-July, hammering densely populated cities from Shanghai to Chengdu.

Liabilities at industrial firms jumped 10.5 per cent from a year earlier in July, matching the 10.5 per cent increase in June, the statistics bureau said.

China's economy narrowly escaped contraction in the three months to June, as strict COVID control restrictions and a distressed property sector pummelled demand.

Policymakers are striving to prop up the flagging economy by doubling down on infrastructure spending.

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