HONG KONG/BENGALURU (Reuters) – At first glance, China Inc’s earnings are off to a roaring start to 2017: first-half net profits surged by nearly a quarter, helped by healthy expansion in the world’s second-largest economy. Robust profits have been a key factor in pushing the benchmark Hong Kong index (.HSI) to three-year highs and its Shanghai counterpart (.SSEC) to its strongest levels in 20-months. Total debt at some 1,200 firms listed in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong as of end-June grew 13 percent from a year earlier, Reuters calculations show, much faster than the first half of 2016 when the rate was 7.5 percent.
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