BEIJING, June 19 (Xinhua) -- China's state-owned enterprises (SOEs) saw faster growth in profits in the first five months of 2014 than in the January-April period, adding to signs of a stabilizing economy, according to the Ministry of Finance (MOF).
The combined profits of China's SOEs rose 6.9 percent year on year to 942.6 billion yuan (153.2 billion U.S. dollars) in the first five months, accelerating moderately from 6.5 percent for the January-April period.
However, business revenues for state firms continued to slow, while operating costs still outpaced the growth in revenues, thus further weighing on future profits, the MOF said in a statement on its website.
Total business revenues for the state firms increased 5.3 percent from a year ago to 18.83 trillion yuan in the first five months, while operating costs rose at a faster pace of 5.6 percent to reach 18.16 trillion yuan.
By the end of May, SOEs' total assets stood at 95.73 trillion yuan, or more than seven times the size of the economy in the first quarter. Liabilities rose 11.7 percent year on year to 62.45 trillion yuan, compared with 11.3 percent in asset growth.
Still, 32 centrally administered SOEs and state firms run by 13 provinces reported declines in profits, according to the MOF.
Steel companies and the non-ferrous metal sector run by the state continued to suffer losses, but SOEs in building materials, automobiles and real estate posted large increases in profits.
The figures, which exclude financial SOEs, were collected from SOEs in 36 provincial-level regions and those administered by the central government.