China's Jan-Feb industrial profits rise 16.1 pct y/y

BEIJING, March 27 (Reuters) - Profits earned by China's industrial companies rose 16.1 percent year-on-year to 968.9 billion yuan ($154.57 billion) in the first two months of the year, slowing from the same period in 2017, the statistics bureau said on Tuesday.

Industrial profits increased 21.0 percent year-on-year in 2017.

The government releases combined January and February figures in an effort to even out distortions caused by the week-long Lunar New Year, which fell on Feb. 15. this year.

Chinese industrial firms' liabilities increased 6.0 percent from a year earlier at the end of February, compared with a 5.7 percent rise at the end of 2017.

The data covers large companies with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan from their main operations. ($1 = 6.2685 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)