Earlier this year we wrote a fair bit about how China was experiencing a profitless growth. But latest data shows that in October profits climbed 20.5 per cent year-over-year (YoY), and sales grew 11.1 per cent on the year.
Year-to-date (Ytd) industrial profits were up 0.5 per cent, compared with -1.8 per cent in the January-September period. This added to signs of green shoots in the economy.
Bank of America’s Ting Lu writes that earnings rebound was driven by lower base, falling prices of raw materials, exports, and inventory cycle:
“First, earnings growth slowed significantly in 4Q11 due to the policy tightening then, which poses a lower comparison pace entering 4Q12.
Second, producer prices have been falling since late 2011, but earlier this year manufacturers were still using materials purchased last year when prices surged. Recently manufacturers used more materials purchased at lower prices.
Third, restocking by manufacturers on rebounding raw material prices and improved confidence has been leading to a faster growth in sales revenue than GDP, unlike the case in 2Q and 3Q when manufacturers ran down their inventories.
Fourth, export growth has been accelerating in the past two months as well from the trough in 3Q, which could also help boost earnings growth for manufacturers.”
Ting writes that industrial profits could be a leading indicator for earnings of listed non-financial companies. Earnings for these companies were down 15.7 per cent in the third quarter, and 16.8 per cent in the second quarter.
Here’s a chart that shows the turn around in industrial profits and its connection with earnings of listed non-financial companies:
Photo: Bank of America
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