China's listed firms show remarkable turnarounds

Updated: 2016-11-01 16:28


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BEIJING - If the latest quarterly reports from China's listed firms are anything to go by, the economy is stabilizing with structural reforms starting to bring dividends to the real economy.

Almost 3,000 companies listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges have posted their financial performances for the first nine months, with total net profits up 1.9 percent year on year, according to the Shanghai Securities News."

Among them, 2,622 made a total net profit of 2.1 trillion yuan ($310 billion) in the first three quarters, outperforming the same period of 2015, led by the banking, insurance and property sectors.

The economy expanded at 6.7 percent in Q3, pointing to recovery in manufacturing and increased consumption. Many firms in traditional sectors are staging a comeback and start-ups are expanding.

Steelmakers are particularly noteworthy. Only six of the 35 listed reported losses in the period, compared with 22 last year. Total profits of 9.3 billion yuan compare very favorably with a loss of 20 billion yuan in the same period last year.

Gansu Jiu Steel Group Hongxing Iron & Steel Co Ltd, the biggest loser in the first three quarters of 2015, made a net profit of 415 million yuan this year. The company attributed the turnaround to adapting to new market conditions, rising steel prices and improved productivity and efficiency.

A national campaign to cut excess capacity in coal and steel sectors that began late last year may be partly responsible for recent price rises.

Shipbuilding and nonferrous metals also saw narrowing losses or deficits turned into profits.

Emerging sectors are making even bigger strides. Listed firms on the small-and-medium-sized enterprises board made 21.3 percent more than last year, while profits on the Nasdaq-style ChiNext rose 44.1 percent.

This year is the ChiNext board's seventh. In that time, the board has become a vital support for start-ups and it is now the world's fastest growing stock market in the field.

With over 90 percent of the 546 listed companies on ChiNext in the high-tech sector, the board could be a valuable driver of supply-side reform and economic transition, according to Deng Ge, spokesperson for the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

Last month, the commission introduced a new kind of corporate bond, specifically to finance start-ups, promote entrepreneurship and encourage innovation.