China’s housing ministry said its previous announcement that the country had achieved its 2011 public housing starts goal by October had loosely defined “construction starts,” and about one-third of the projects could essentially be holes dug in the ground, the Financial Times reported. “For the final third of the 10 million units, because the preparation was quite hurried, the construction started a little bit late. We are requiring that basic foundations should be built by the end of the year,” said Qi Ji, deputy housing ministry, interviewed by state media last week. Guandian, a property sector website, claimed that the units were “holes that have been dug awaiting construction.” The developments explain why according to official data, new housing starts have been outstripping commensurate steel and cement consumption. The admission could impact the global commodities market; demand generated by Beijing’s public housing scheme has been seen as a contributor to rising commodity prices.