BEIJING (Reuters) -China's market regulator on Wednesday said it had launched an investigation into fertiliser producers and distributors that are suspected of driving up prices.
The probe is the latest in a series of investigations by the Chinese authorities into surging prices of fertiliser and other commodities that have raised consumers' costs.
Announcing the investigation in a statement on its website, the State Administration for Market Regulation also said it would continue to pay close attention to fertiliser prices and punish illegal acts such as hoarding, hiking prices and price collusion.
Fertiliser prices in China, one of the world's top grain producers, have hit record levels this year amid lower domestic output, stronger demand from overseas and high energy costs. Recent flooding in the central province of Henan has also affected production.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's state planner, said last week it had summoned fertiliser firms for a discussion about hoarding and price speculation.
Some of China's major fertiliser companies said they would temporarily suspend exports to ensure supply for the domestic market, the NDRC said.
(Reporting by Beijing Newsroom; writing by Tom Daly; editing by Louise Heavens and Jason Neely)