Rocky Monday morning, as third-quarter earnings reports start trickling in. At the top of the rock pile, perhaps unsurprisingly, is aluminum company Chalco, which said its 3Q earnings nosedived 92% year-on-year to US$26.7 million due to higher prices for materials, energy and fuel. Chalco already announced it had begun cutting production two weeks ago because of those pressures, and a spokesman summed up the bleakness by saying: “current prices are at a level nobody can bear.”
China’s banks also announced slowed growth in the third quarter. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and China Construction Bank posted profit growth of 25.5% and 12.1%, respectively, down sharply from previous quarters. ICBC, for example, saw 77% net profit growth in the good old 2Q, before the economic world began to implode.
Speaking of Armageddon, China told European leaders in Beijing that it would back efforts to overhaul international economic regulations in the wake of the credit crisis. Hu Jintao told European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso that China would “actively cooperate” with Europe on this front. The scrambling politicians will begin formal talks on the new reforms in Washington in mid-November.
Also on the government-cooperation landscape, China and Vietnam have agreed to turn disputed border areas into economic growth zones and jointly explore offshore for oil. The plan is to set up industrial projects in new “economic corridors,” as well as road and rail links connecting the two countries.