China's COSCO Shipping says to post profit in Q1

SHANGHAI, April 8 (Reuters) - China's COSCO Shipping

Holdings said it would report a profit in

the first-quarter, boosted by an improving market and cost

savings from a recent merger.

The world's fourth-largest container shipping line said in a

stock market statement late on Friday that it expects to post a

net profit of 260 million yuan ($37.7 million) for the three

months to end-March.

The result would be up from a loss of 4.48 billion yuan

during the first quarter of 2016, although year-on-year

comparisons are difficult as COSCO became a new company last

year through the merger of two major domestic shipping firms.

COSCO said it shipped 54 percent more cargo during the

quarter than a year ago. The China Containerized Freight Index,

which tracks freight rates from China to overseas ports, had

risen 11.7 percent on a year ago, indicating overall sector

recovery, it said.

The company last month flagged that it was seeing positive

signals in demand after reporting a loss of 9.9 billion yuan for

calendar 2016.

COSCO has been restructuring since its merger, selling some

units at a loss and focusing on container shipping.

($1 = 6.8978 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Richard Pullin)