China's automotive industry has recorded profits of 22.004bn yuan ($US2.8bn) in the first eight months of the year, an increase of almost 64% over the previous year, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

A Xinhua news agency report said turnover for the Chinese automotive industry was up 30% during the same period, ending a continuous period of decline in profitability since 2004. The improvement is attributed to a decline in steel prices, as well as high domestic vehicle demand.

The data also shows that inventories are still growing, up 12.4% in August on a year ago, but that the rate of growth is slowing.

Car demand is reported to be fuelled by high housing prices which are forcing many to commute from the suburbs.

Exports of commercial vehicles were up over 50% to 95,600 vehicles in a business worth US$604m. Passenger car exports totaled 14,400 units in the same period and were valued at US$296m.

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