The combined profits of industrial companies across China fell 1.6% in the first four months of 2012 from a year earlier to 1.45 trillion yuan ($228.6 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said on Sunday.
The decline follows a 1.3% drop in the first three months, in line with slowing economic growth.
China growth is facing downward pressure as exports slow and domestic demand struggles to pick up the slack, partially due to Beijing's campaign to rein in the property market.
The statistics agency, in a statement on its website (www.stats.gov.cn), did not provide a reason for the fall.
For April alone, profits fell 2.2% on year to 407.6 billion yuan, it said. The ferrous metal industry was particularly weak, with profits sinking 57% in the January-to-April period.
Petroleum refining, coking and nuclear fuel processing recorded losses in the first four months, compared with a profit in the same period of 2011, the bureau added, without providing details.
Some sectors recorded profit rises.
Power and heating suppliers reported a 20.1% rise in profit while earnings in the oil and natural gas exploitation industry grew 8.2%. Auto manufacturers reported an 8.7% rise.
The agency's year-to-date profit figures cover industrial companies with annual revenue above 20 million yuan.
The HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers' Index, the earliest indicator of China's industrial sector, retreated to 48.7 in May from a final reading of 49.3 in April. It marked the seventh straight month that the index has been below 50, indicating contracting economic activity.
The figures signal that the sluggish economic conditions of the first quarter are set to continue throughout the first half of the year in China's longest slowdown since the global financial crisis.
($1 = 6.3439 Chinese yuan)