BEIJING, Sept 27 (Reuters) - China fined 18 companies that manufacture poly vinyl chloride (PVC) a total of 457 million yuan ($68.9 million) for manipulating market prices, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement on Wednesday.
The companies worked together to raise PVC prices through a message group on the messaging application wechat in 2016, harming the margins for downstream PVC users such as appliance makers, the NDRC said.
The 18 companies account for three-quarters of China’s annual PVC production, the Commission said.
Two of China’s leading manufacturers, Hubei Yihua Group and China National Salt Industry Co., were the companies responsible for running the wechat group, the NDRC said.
The two companies arranged six meetings to discuss setting prices and there were 13 instances of prices being set on the wechat group, the Commission said.
Each company involved was required to pay between 1 percent and 2 percent of their 2016 revenue as a fine.
$1 = 6.6300 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Meng Meng and Aizhu Chen; Editing by Christian Schmollinger