Profits earned by China’s industrial firms in March fell 34.9% from a year earlier to 370.66 billion yuan ($52.43 billion), the statistics bureau said on Monday.

The decline compares with a 38.3% slump in January-February, which was the steepest decline since at least 2010.

For January-March, industrial firms’ profits fell 36.7% on an annual basis to 781.45 billion yuan.

Liabilities at industrial firms rose 5.4% on year at end-March, versus a 5.3% increase as of end-February.

The industrial profit data covers large firms whose annual revenue exceeds 20 million yuan from their main operations.

The slide in profits reflects continued pressure on China’s manufacturing sector, hard-hit by slowing global demand from the coronavirus pandemic and the contraction of China’s economy for the first time in nearly 30 years in the first quarter. ($1 = 7.0700 yuan)

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