More clouds loomed on the horizon of China's economy today as industrial profits growth slowed.
Earnings for China's industrial companies rose 16.5 per cent in July to 612.7bn yuan (£71.55bn), the slowest rate of growth for three months, the Chinese statistics bureau said. The previous month, growth stood at 19.1 per cent.
High temperatures were blamed for the slowdown, as some firms were forced to halt production.
But the figures nevertheless add to fears that the Chinese economy is facing a major slowdown. The IMF and a former deputy governor for monetary policy at the Bank of England have both warned that the country could even face an imminent financial crisis.
Overall for the first seven months of the year, growth slowed slightly. Companies brought in 4.25 trillion yuan, a 21.2 per cent jump. Growth in the same period last year was 22 per cent.
Concerns over China's economy have been raised this year as lending to the country rises. But officials said today that the industrial sector, which accounts for a third of China's GDP, had managed to improve in challenging conditions, marking a positive development for the economy.