Mitsubishi Corp. said Friday its first-half net profit jumped 48 percent to 89.4 billion yen, buoyed by robust demand for energy and natural resources amid China’s rapid economic growth.

The country’s largest trading house also lifted the full-year net profit forecast by 30 billion yen to 160 billion yen, citing strong markets for commodities that include oil, copper and aluminum.

The announcement came after Mitsui & Co., the second-largest trader, reported last week a record 62.1 billion yen net profit for the first half.

The 2.4-fold year-on-year growth was also thanks to strong demand for raw materials for steel in China and other parts of Asia.

During the April-September period, Mitsubishi’s revenue rose 9 percent to 8.19 trillion yen.

“It was the fruit of our effort to focus on natural resources. International commodity markets shot up steeper than we expected,” Ichiro Mizuno, the firm’s chief financial officer, told a news conference. “All can be attributed to China.”

China’s rapid economic growth has been sucking up energy and other natural resources, driving up the prices of iron ore, coal and other commodities.

Mizuno said he expects the Chinese economy to maintain a strong growth rate through 2008 to 2010, keeping commodity markets at high levels.

At Mitsui, revenue was up 13 percent to 6.72 trillion yen.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.