A wheel loader piles up coal at a coalyard in Yichang city, central China's Hubei province. Photo: AFP, Zhou jianping/Imaginechina

National Bureau of Statistics figures showed industrial firm profit growth cooling to 23.8% for March, down from gains of 31.5% for the January-February period, reports Caixin.

The numbers may dampen the excitement generated by China’s surprisingly robust economic growth rebound to start the year. China’s GDP saw 6.9% growth over the first three months of the year, up from 6.8% in 2016.

Profits had surged on a recovery in raw material prices, but the impact has tapered off as commodity prices inch back downward.