This photo taken on on April 25, 2017 shows a construction site in Baoding, in China's Hebei province. (Fred Dufour / AFP)
BEIJING - Six in 10 Chinese-listed companies are poised to announce huge profits for the first half of this year, despite concerns that the world's second-largest economy will lose steam.
Some 60.3 percent of 1,099 Chinese publicly traded companies as of Monday had forecast profit growth or projected that losses would be transferred to gains for the January-June period.
The profitability of listed companies offers insight into broader economic performance.
Breakdown figures revealed that only 13.6 percent of these companies are set to witness profit decreases or going into debt for the first six months, and the remainder have not made profit projections, Xinhua-run Shanghai Securities News reported Tuesday.
TRADITIONAL SECTOR WINNERS
As China continues to slash excess capacity and the price of products increases, traditional sectors such as coal, metal and petrochemicals will see continued growth.
Companies in upstream sectors are among the biggest winners, with 54 listed petrochemical companies predicting more profits or reversing business losses. Five companies, including Zhejiang Satellite Petrochemical, forecast net profits increases of more than 10-fold year on year.
Nonferrous metal-related companies are expected to turn healthy profits, with 21 businesses expected to announce increased profits or turn losses into profits.
"The prices of petrochemicals and other products remained high at the start of the year due to the ongoing supply-side structural reform and more stringent environmental protection standards. Some smaller companies will be forced to halt business, while industry leaders will secure a stronger foothold in the market," said Chen Hongliang, researcher with Guotai Junan Securities.
China is pressing ahead with supply-side structural reform, which features cutting overcapacity, deleveraging, lowering costs, reducing inventories and strengthening weak business links to generate sustainable long-term growth.
Many electrical equipment manufacturers staged strong growth thanks to robust fixed-asset investment growth in China's transportation infrastructure, with the profits of 12 listed companies set to more than double in the first six months.
However, some analysts have cautioned that leading economic indicators may ease pace in the coming weeks and Chinese-listed companies will face pressure to achieve their profit targets.
UBS China said Tuesday that April's data is expected to show "slightly softer growth momentum" including weaker industrial production growth, slower property sales and cooler export growth.
The view is echoed by investment bank Nomura, which said that "our composite leading index for China moderated in March, while our heat-map has cooled, pointing to a slower April after a strong March." It forecast China's GDP growth to slow to 6.8 percent in the second quarter from 6.9 percent in Q1.
Both official and private surveys showed that expansion in China's manufacturing sector eased in April.
Commodity prices, including steel and coal, and midstream products, such as chemical fiber, all saw notable corrections in April, partially driven by financial deleveraging, investment firm China International Capital Corp. said.
"The recent decline of raw material prices points to a shift in market supply and demand. Economic growth will witness slightly weaker momentum," said Lian Ping, chief economist at the Bank of Communications.
"It is a crucial moment for some listed companies, especially those smaller ones facing rising debt against the backdrop of the US interest rate increase and rising capital costs at home," said Li Huiyong, economist at Shenwan Hongyuan Securities.