China October industrial profits fall for fifth straight month

An employee assembles an electric car along a production line at a factory in Qingzhou, Shandong province, China, October 31, 2015. REUTERS/China Daily

BEIJING (Reuters) - Profits earned by Chinese industrial companies fell 4.6 percent in October from a year earlier, data from the statistics bureau showed on Friday, declining for the fifth consecutive month.

Industrial profits - which cover large enterprises with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan ($3.13 million) from their main operations - fell 2.0 percent in the first 10 months of the year compared with the same period a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on its website.

In September, profits fell 0.1 percent from a year earlier.

The impact of foreign exchange and lower investment income on companies’ profits were less pronounced in October than in prior months, the statistics bureau said in a statement.

Falling sales, rising costs and hits to profit in the oil, steel and coal industries all contributed to October’s disappointing industrial profits, the NBS said.

The mining industry was the laggard with profits falling 56.3 percent in the first 10 months of the year from a year earlier, the NBS data showed.

China’s Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday that China was on track to reach its economic growth target of about 7 percent this year, and the economy was going through adjustments to maintain reasonable medium- to long-term growth.

China’s customs authorities announced a number of new measures on Wednesday to help exporters and importers, describing the current foreign trade environment as “complicated and grim.”

The new policies include lowering various costs for importers and exporters, streamlining the clearance of goods at customs and gathering more accurate statistics.

Reporting by Sue-Lin Wong, Xiaoyi Shao and Winni Zhou; Editing by Sam Holmes