BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Major Chinese industrial firms saw their combined profits rise 24.2 percent year on year in August, accelerating from 11.6 percent in July that points to further evidence of a firming economy, official data showed on Friday.
The profits of industrial companies with annual revenues of more than 20 million yuan (3.26 million U.S. dollars) hit 483.17 billion yuan in August, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.
In the first eight months, their profits rose 12.8 percent to 3.5 trillion yuan.
Among the 41 industries surveyed, 25 posted year-on-year profit growth during the January-August period, while 14 saw their profit decline. The ferrous metal smelting and rolling sector reported turnarounds in profitability, while the railways, ship, aerospace and other transportation equipment manufacturing sector reported a decline in losses.
Breaking it down, private businesses led the growth, with their combined profits up 16.2 percent year on year in the first eight months, while state-run enterprises saw earnings up 8 percent during the period.
NBS analyst He Ping attributed the quickened industrial profit growth to a lower comparison base in the same period of last year, an increase of output and sales, and lower production costs.
While acknowledging the acceleration of profit growth, He cautioned that the gains were too concentrated in several sectors.
Electricity, heat production and the supply industry saw profits jump 70.1 percent in the first eight months, and manufacturers of computers, telecommunication and electronics saw their gains rise 29.2 percent.
Friday's data came after a string of other economic indicators, from factory output and retail sales to foreign trade, showed the world's second-largest economy may be gradually stabilizing after a protracted slowdown.
Among the latest evidence, HSBC's preliminary reading for China's manufacturing sector showed the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 51.2 in September, the highest level in six months.
The country's electricity consumption, an indicator of economic activity, rose 13.7 percent year on year in August, marking its fastest growth since March 2012, according to official data released earlier this month.