December 7, 2017 / 2:14 AM / a year ago

China local govts should intervene on rising cement prices - industry body

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Some Chinese cement producers and suppliers were taking advantage of Beijing’s environmental crackdown to artificially ramp up prices, an industry body said on Wednesday, urging local governments to investigate.

The Wuhan Concrete (Mortar) Association, which represents the central Chinese region’s concrete and mortar producers, said some construction projects have been suspended due to disorderly price spikes and artificial supply shortages of raw materials.

China’s environmental push and orders for cement producers to cut output have pushed up concrete prices and led to supply shortages since September, the association said in a report to local government bodies dated Dec. 4 and released on its website on Wednesday.

“Particularly upstream cement producers and suppliers have taken the opportunity to exaggerate the impact from the environmental crackdown and output cuts to raise prices in a disorderly way multiple times in November and make supplies artificially short,” it said.

The move was believed to be aimed at forcing up prices to gain “excessive profits,” it said.

Some construction projects, including key government projects, have been suspended, it added, without giving details.

Beijing has vowed to crack down on pollution as part of its efforts to clear its skies, ordering cutbacks in industrial production including cement, steel and aluminum in the winter season.

Reporting by Ruby Lian and Josephine Mason; editing by Richard Pullin

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