China budget audit reveals signs of illegal commodity resales

FILE PHOTO: A labourer works on coils of steel wire at a steel wholesale market in Beijing January 17, 2012. REUTERS/Soo Hoo Zheyang/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - An audit of China’s central budget in 2020 found signs of commodities being illegally resold for profit, the government said, as Beijing continues a campaign to root out activity it believes is driving up manufacturers’ raw material costs.

The audit, which looked at implementation of the budget, as well as other fiscal expenditure and state asset management, also uncovered signs of tax evasion, the government said in a statement on its website on Wednesday.

“These problems disrupted normal market order and fair competition,” said the statement, issued after a regular meeting of the State Council, China’s cabinet, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

It did not provide further details or identify which commodities were involved.

China has this year launched probes into the trading of commodities such as coal and steelmaking ingredient iron ore, pledging to crack down on hoarding and speculation as prices surged to all-time peaks and producer inflation hit its highest in more than 12 years in May.

The State Council said it had set up a special investigation team to probe the illegal resale issue and other violations uncovered in the audit and will hold any entities involved to account, no matter how high they rank.

Reporting by Tom Daly and Roxanne Liu; Editing by Kirsten Donovan