October 29, 2010 / 4:07 AM / 9 years ago

China steel assn suspects Sept steel output was misreported

BEIJING, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Discrepancies in China’s steel output figures in September could be the result of deliberate misreporting on the part of regional governments and enterprises, an official with China’s steel association said on Friday.

“From the reported figures from some provinces and cities, and from some steel enterprises, (crude) steel output has fallen but steel product output has fallen much more slowly or even risen,” Luo Bingsheng, deputy chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), told reporters.

“We are already paying close attention to whether the figures are being manipulated, and I can tell you, we have already raised this issue with relevant government department leaders.”

A number of provinces introduced restrictions on electricity use in September, forcing mills to shut down or scale back and causing a 7.1 percent month-on-month decline in crude steel output, according to official data.

CISA’s official figures show that daily output in the middle 10 days of October had fallen nearly 8 percent since the beginning of September, but prices have not responded, and analysts have suggested that the figures are being manipulated in order to comply with state energy targets.

Wang Zhaohua with Guojin Securities said in a research note that it was possible that September production figures were under-reported, especially in the steel heartland of Hebei where small and under-regulated private mills continue to dominate.

Hebei reported a 27.96 percent decline in steel output in September, implying that output in the rest of the country actually rose 3 percent over the month despite the electricity cuts, Wang said.

Reporting by David Stanway, Editing by Ken Wills

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