Tue, Aug 07, 2007 - Page 12 News List

FTC probes possible corn price fixing

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Fair Trade Commission said yesterday it has launched an investigation into possible price fixing or stock hoarding by major corn importers and wholesalers. The probe was part of the commission's efforts to prevent commodity prices from rising abnormally.

The commission's latest move came after pork dealers complained that a recent spike in corn prices had forced them to raise the price of pork. Further price increases, they said, could hurt demand.

The commission began visiting food manufacturers and importers -- including Uni-President Enterprises Corp (統一企業), Dachan Great Wall Group (大成長城集團) and Taiwan Sugar Corp (台糖), among others -- on July 25 to check corn prices, Wu Cheng-wuh (吳成物), the commission's chief secretary, said during a telephone interview yesterday.

"As the investigation is ongoing, we will see whether any abnormal transactions have occurred before determining whether corn prices were illegally controlled," he said.

Wu said the commission would have results soon after finishing price checks with the retailers.

Based on the commission's preliminary data, the price of corn went up from NT$7.5 per kilogram at the beginning of this year to NT$8.7 in the middle of June, before sliding to NT$7.85 last week.

The price of corn in futures traded in Chicago, meanwhile, was down 9.77 percent, the commission said in a statement yesterday.

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