Shanghai: Profit growth at Chinese industrial companies accelerated, snapping a streak of slowing expansion since October, as factory output remained robust.

Industrial profits advanced 21.9 per cent in April from a year earlier, versus a 3.1 per cent increase in March and 16.1 per cent in January and February combined. Total profits for the month were 576.03 billion yuan ($90.1 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said Sunday.

The acceleration was bolstered by higher output, rebounding factory inflation and improved profit margins particularly in the steel, chemical and auto industries, the bureau said in a separate statement. Industrial output climbed 7 per cent last month, exceeding forecasts, though decelerating investment and retail sales signal a looming economic slowdown.

“The notable recovery in industrial enterprise profitability in April indicates that China’s domestic growth remains resilient,” Eva Yi, senior economist at China International Capital Corp. in Hong Kong, said in a research note. Meanwhile, there are some “early signs of stress from the recent changes in the industrial enterprise balance sheet.”

China’s supply-side reform continues to help cut industrial companies’ costs and leverage, the bureau said. The nation’s total industrial profits in the first fourth months climbed 15 per cent from a year earlier