Profits at Chinese industrial companies surged in the first 10 months of 2013, official data showed on Thursday, extending the streak of gains recorded this year, and providing further proof that the world’s second-largest economy is moving on to firmer ground.

Total profits earned by major Chinese industrial enterprises rose 13.7 percent to 4.63 trillion yuan ($760 billion) from a year earlier in the January-October period, while profits increased by 0.2 percent compared to the nine-month period between January and September this year, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday. According to a Xinhua report, in the month of October, industrial businesses saw their profits rise 15.1 percent year-on-year to 581.04 billion yuan, slowing from a 18.4 percent growth in September.

The data, which cover companies reporting annual revenues of more than 20 million yuan is a key economic indicator that provides a glimpse into the health of China’s state-run companies, which drive the nation’s economic engine. The index grabbed global attention in 2012 when it fell for 8 straight months, forcing the Chinese government to loosen monetary policy and launch stimulus measures.

State-run large-scale industries earned a profit of 1.24 trillion yuan in the January-October period, marking an increase of 9.1 percent over the same period last year.

Among the 41 sectors surveyed by the bureau, 26 reported a rise in profits in the first 10 months of this year. Yu Jianxun, an official from the bureau’s industry division, attributed the surge in profits to steady growth in sales and to improved operating margins. Total sales by industrial enterprises grew by 11.1 percent annually during the 10-month period under consideration.

The industries that recorded a growth in profits include petroleum processing, automobile manufacturing and the ferrous metal-processing industry. 

Chinese shares traded higher Thursday, with the Shanghai Composite ending up 0.83 percent and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index ending 0.9 percent, following the release of the data.