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UPDATE 1-BMW says shortage of parts from Bosch hampers production

* BMW plants in South Africa, China suffer production halt

* BMW cites lack of supplies from Bosch

* Bosch says Italian sub-supplier is to blame (Adds Bosch statement)

FRANKFURT, May 29 (Reuters) - German carmaker BMW said a shortage of steering gears supplied by Robert Bosch slowed production of several of its compact and mid-sized models and caused stoppages at its plants in South Africa and China.

"Our supplier Bosch is not currently able to provide us with a sufficient number of steering gears for the BMW 1 Series, 2 Series, 3 Series and 4 Series," BMW said in a statement on Monday.

BMW plants in Tiexi, China and Rosslyn, South Africa have extended or pulled forward planned interruptions to production, the carmaker said.

"We are taking advantage of the flexibility of our processes to minimize economic damage. We expect that Bosch, as the responsible supplier, will compensate for damages," BMW said.

Bosch meanwhile blamed the problem on a sub-supplier in Italy, which it did not name.

"One main component of the steering system is the housing; which Bosch procures from a sub-supplier in Italy. We are currently experiencing delivery problems with this supplier," it said in an e-mailed statement.

It said Bosch, BMW and the sub-supplier were doing all they could to resolve the delivery bottlenecks. (Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Maria Sheahan)