Profits slide at China's state-owned companies

BEIJING: China's state-owned firms saw their profits fall sharply in the first four months, the government said Wednesday, in yet another sign the Chinese economy continued to suffer from the global crisis.

State-owned enterprises across the country made 323.6 billion yuan (47.4 billion dollars) in profit from January to April, down 32.3 percent from the same period of 2008, said a statement posted on the finance ministry's website.

But the decline was smaller than that seen in the first quarter, when profits dropped by 36.8 percent on year, according to the statement.

Revenues of the companies also decreased in the first four months of the year, falling 7.3 percent year on year to 6.0 trillion yuan, it added.

As a result, taxes paid by state-owned companies in the period fell by 9.1 percent to 577.6 billion yuan, the statement said.

China's trade-reliant economy has been severely impacted by the global crisis, with economic growth expected to slow to a 19-year low of 6.5 percent in 2009, according to the World Bank.

The tougher times are hurting the corporate sector, including state companies which have increasingly been forced to operate on market conditions.