Economic Watch: Listed companies' Q1 reports paint firming economic picture

2017-04-21 11:40:46 GMT2017-04-21 19:40:46(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BEIJING, April 21 (Xinhua) -- The advance first-quarter reportsfrom Chinese listed companies reinforced the message, conveyed inthe recent string of upbeat economic data, that the world'ssecond-largest economy is on steadier footing.

As of Wednesday, 1,432 Chinese listed companies had disclosedtheir advance first-quarter reports, and 66 percent of themregistered a net profit growth or turned losses into gains,according to data compiled by Wind, a leading information serviceprovider.

Breakdown figures showed that 443 companies will witness ayear-on-year profit surge of more than 50 percent in the firstquarter, with 289 companies to report year-on-year profit growth ofless than 50 percent and 155 companies to reverse businesslosses.

Industry-specific data revealed that most companies in bothtraditional sectors such as coal and steel as well as some newlyemerging industries posted stellar growth on the back of businessimprovement or product price increases.

Among the 11 listed coal-related companies that have releasedadvance first-quarter reports, all have registered net profitgrowth of more than 100 percent except for Inner MongoliaPingzhuang Energy Resources.

Yanzhou Coal Mining Company is forecast to see net profit growthof more than 580 percent in the first three months this year due torising coal prices and expanded output.

The profit growth of coal-related listed companies will likelycontinue into the following quarters as coal prices stay elevated,according to a report from Industrial Securities, a domesticbrokerage house.

China's manufacturing sector in March stayed above the boom-bustmark for the eighth month in a row, with traditional sectors likeoil refining, coking and metal smelting witnessing robust growth,the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.

"China's manufacturing sector and the broader economy are likelyto continue steady growth on the back of favorable macroeconomicconditions and rebounding foreign markets demand," investment bankChina International Capital Corporation said in a researchnote.

In a similar vein, all 15 Chinese listed iron and steelcompanies that released advance first-quarter reports predicted netprofit growth, with Sansteel Minguang registering a net profit ofaround 400 million yuan (58.1 million U.S. dollars), a year-on-yearsurge of more than 800 percent.

Despite new moves to curb housing market speculation in majorChinese cities, the iron and steel prices are buttressed by robustfixed-asset investment growth in China's transport infrastructure,analysts said.

China is set to spend around 2.6 trillion yuan on transportinfrastructure projects this year, according to the Ministry ofTransport.

China's major industrial companies registered robust profitgrowth in the first two months of the year, and NBS statistician HePing attributed this to increased industrial production, rawmaterial price increases and an uptick in profitability.

"Profit margins of some major types of steel products have hitthe record high since 2011," Industrial Securities said in aresearch note.

China is seeking to transition to an innovation andservice-driven economy from one heavily reliant on investment andexports of low-value-added goods, and advance first-quarter reportsshowed that some new growth engines are picking up momentum.

Listed companies on the tech-heavy small and medium-sizedenterprises board will witness an average year-on-year net profitgrowth of 66.6 percent in the first quarter, Shenwan HongyuanSecurities data showed, with new energy vehicle-related sharesamong the best performers.

Not every figure was good news. Of 232 listed companies thathave released their formal first-quarter reports, 122 of themreported higher debt levels, according to Wind data.

"It is a crucial moment for some listed companies, especiallythose smaller companies pressured by rising debt against thebackdrop of the U.S. interest rate increase and rising capitalcosts at home," said Li Huiyong, economist at Shenwan HongyuanSecurities. Enditem