Beijing Warns of “Zero Tolerance” for Hoarding and Price Manipulation by Commodities Firms with Clout

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The Chinese central government has summoned the country’s key commodities companies for regulatory discussions in a bid to keep prices stable amidst a global surge in markets.

Key and influential enterprises in the iron ore, steel, copper, aluminium and other markets were summoned for discussions with five of China’s top regulatory bodies on 23 May, including the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MITT), the State-owned Assets Supervisory and Administration Commission (SASAC), the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) and the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).

Regulators warned commodities companies that they are prohibited from “collusive manipulation of market prices, fabricating and disseminating information on price gains, hoarding or driving up prices.”

“Relevant industry associations must correctly implement their industry self-disciplining role from the perspective of the long-term, healthy development of industries, and guide enterprises in strengthening self-discipline,” said regulators.

Enterprises are called upon to “establish a broad contextual awareness, actively undertake their social duties, expedite the coordinated development of upstream and downstream sectors, and maintain an excellent industry ecosystem.”

Regulators said that since the start of 2021 the prices of certain commodities had continued to post large-scale gains, and that prices for certain goods had successively scaled new heights, which they impute to international factors as well as speculative conduct.

According to regulators the next step will be for agencies to “closely track and monitor commodities price trends; strengthen joint-regulation of commodities futures and spot markets, show ‘zero tolerance’ for illegal conduct, continue to expand legal enforcement and inspection capability, investigate irregular transactions and malignant speculation, firmly and strictly inspect and punish illegal conduct such as entering trust agreements, disseminating false information, driving up prices and hoarding.”

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