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Airlines, such as discount carrier AirAsia, benefited from lower fuel prices in 2016.   © Reuters

Asia Inc. stumbles through two years of profit shrinkage

First double dip since 1997 financial crisis puts resilience to the test

HIROSHI KOTANI, Nikkei staff writer | China

BANGKOK -- In the 20 years since the Asian currency crisis of 1997, the region's companies have generally done well. They recovered from that setback and shrugged off the global financial crisis triggered by the U.S. housing meltdown a decade later, thanks in large part to strong growth in China.

Things are looking less rosy of late. China's economy has slowed, pushing commodity prices lower and eroding the profitability and growth of big Asian companies. As a whole, they are forecast to post smaller profits for the second straight year in fiscal 2016, the first time that has happened since the currency crisis.

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