Switzerland's competition authority says it is investigating Swiss banks UBS and Julius Baer and five foreign financial institutions over suspected price-fixing in the precious metals market.

The Comco competition regulator says the probe that opened Monday also targets Germany's Deutsche Bank, U.S.-based Morgan Stanley, Japan's Mitsui, and HSBC and Barclays of Britain.

The regulator said in a statement Monday it has "indications" the bank struck deals that violate competition rules in terms of spreads — or the differentials between prices offered and the market rate — in gold, silver, platinum and palladium trading.

Comco deputy director Patrik Ducrey said the timing and amount of the possible damage wasn't yet known. He said the probe dovetails with similar investigations already launched in the European Union and the United States.