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China expects assets of centrally owned enterprises to almost double by year-end -report

year-end -report@

BEIJING, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Assets held by China's centrally owned enterprises are expected to reach 55 trillion yuan ($8.31 trillion) in 2017, nearly doubling over the past five years, state-run China News Service reported on Wednesday, citing the state assets regulator.

China aims to create bigger, stronger state firms and build enterprises capable of competing globally while weeding out excessive capacity in bloated sectors.

"Assets owned by central government companies have exceeded 53 trillion yuan by now," Hao Peng, party chief of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), was quoted as saying on the sidelines of the 19th Communist Party Congress.

Profits at centrally owned firms in the past five years totalled 6.4 trillion yuan, a more than 30 percent jump versus the previous five years, Hao said, according to China News Service.

Profits of central government-owned firms rose 18.4 percent year-on-year to 1.11 trillion yuan in the first nine months of this year, data from SASAC showed last week.

Central government-owned companies have also cut steel capacity by more than 16 million tonnes and coal capacity by more than 58 million tonnes during the past five years, Hao was quoted as saying.

The world's top coal consumer and steel maker has launched a campaign to shut down substandard steel output in its war on pollution and industrial over-capacity.

($1 = 6.6188 Chinese yuan renminbi) (By Lusha Zhang and Ryan Woo)