Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) futures slipped to an about 1-week low on Monday, as investors took profits after the benchmark touched a 10-1/2-month high last week and as they unwound positions ahead of China’s Lunar New Year holiday.
TOCOM’s rubber contract for June delivery finished 4.8 yen, or 2.3%, lower at 201.4 yen ($1.83) per kg, after hitting the lowest since Jan. 10 of 200.8 yen earlier in the session. It rose to the highest since March 4, 2019 last Friday.
The most-active rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for May delivery fell 280 yuan to finish at 12,895 yuan ($1,879) per tonne. The front-month rubber contract on Singapore’s SICOM exchange for February delivery last traded at 150.1 US cents per kg, down 1.3%.
China, the world’s biggest rubber consumer, is confident of maintaining steady industrial growth this year despite big pressures on the sector, underpinned by tax cuts and broad policy support, Minister of Industry and Information Technology Wei said on Monday.
“Investors were trying to square their positions ahead of China’s long Lunar new year break,” said Hiroyuki Kikukawa, general manager of research at Nissan Securities. “Still, if oil prices move higher due to supply disruption in Libya, that may lend support to rubber markets,” he said.
Oil prices rose to their highest in more than week on Monday after two large crude production bases in Libya began shutting down amid a military blockade, setting the stage for crude flows from the OPEC member to be cut to a trickle.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei stock average edged higher to 15-month highs on Monday on strong US housing data and investor optimism after last week’s US-China trade deal. The US dollar was quoted around 110.14 yen, compared with around 110.19 yen on Friday afternoon.
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