Daily Archives: March 17, 2012

Shock horror – some aluminium plants fudge numbers

Written by Paul Adkins

Thanks to Peter from Hong Kong, who sent me an extract from a Standard Bank commodities note.

“The Chinese statistics bureau has meanwhile noted that local officials in northern Shangxi province, forced some local companies, including coal and aluminium producers, to report false numbers for 2011. The quoted phrase used in the article to describe the numbers was “seriously untrue”. While the report is not necessarily a shock, with discrepancies between local and national data a fairly common occurrence, it does nevertheless highlight the difficulty in analysing Chinese data” .   (Our underlining)
So many analysts and commentators continue to take the official government data on China’s aluminium industry as if it were true.   Even the China Statistics Bureau now admits  that it isn’t.  If fudging is happening in one part of one province, then it’s a fair bet it is happening randomly across the country.
It is why even the simplest of data, such as monthly production, is a closely held secret.   Luckily, we at AZ China have impeccable sources, despite some people calling our figures nothing more than “street talk”.   But that’s the problem when reporting on anything about China.   You either use accurate data or official data – you can’t have it both ways.
If you want more accurate information about China’s aluminium industry than the official numbers, please contact us.   Or if you are using other analysts and commentators, please check where they are getting their data from, and how they verify their sources.