China state firms' profit growth picks up to 9.7 pct in Jan-Aug
BEIJING, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Annual profit growth of China's state firms gathered speed in the first eight months of 2013, official data showed on Wednesday, reinforcing views that the world's second-largest economy is regaining some traction.
State-owned non-financial companies made combined profits of 1.5 trillion yuan ($245.04 billion) for January-August, up 9.7 percent from the same period a year ago, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on its website.
Profit growth quickened from an annual rise of 7.6 percent in the first seven months and 7 percent in the first six months.
China saw a broad-based recovery in major economic indicators for August, boding well for the economy's prospects for the remainder of the year and prompting several foreign banks to revise up their forecasts for annual GDP growth in 2013.
The ministry said firms in the electronics, power, petrochemical and real estate industries saw profits rise, while those in non-ferrous metals, chemical, coal and machinery sectors suffered big drops in earnings.
Firms owned by the central government posted an annual rise of 16.6 percent in profits in the first eight months. Companies owned by local governments reported a drop of 5.3 percent.
The ministry said state firms' total revenues rose 11 percent between January and August from the year-earlier period, while operating costs increased 11.5 percent in the same period.
Beijing has pledged to increase the proportion of earnings paid out by state companies in dividends, as part of reforms to address income inequality.
($1 = 6.1215 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Aileen Wang and Jonathan Standing; Editing by Kim Coghill)