By Rahul Dhuri
MUMBAI – The most active March contract of rubber hit a one-week low of 13,550 rupees per 100 kg on the Indian Commodity Exchange, tracking contracts on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, traders said. The March contract ended at 13,597 rupees per 100 kg, largely unchanged from the previous close.
Rubber contract on TOCOM fell in early trade due to extended profit booking after recent gains, analysts said. Weakness in benchmark contracts on the Shanghai Futures Exchange also weighed on prices.
Over the past 10 days, rubber prices on TOCOM have risen by around 10 yen per kg due to concerns over global supply, which is projected to decline due to a smaller crop in Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia post severe pest attacks.
However, the most active July contract of natural rubber on the Japanese bourse ended at 187.4 yen (about 119.7 rupees) per kg, up 0.7% from the previous close.
The price of the RSS-3 variety in Thailand rose by $1.68 to $160.60 per 100 kg, data from Rubber Board showed. In Malaysia, the price of the SMR-20 variety was up 49 cents at $136.65 per 100 kg.
Back home, natural rubber prices in the key markets of Kerala rose due to a persistent supply crunch in the market amid rising demand from domestic stockists, said Kurian Abraham, a local trader.
The rubber-tapping season usually begins in October and continues till March. This year, however, it will end in February due to high temperatures, deepening the supply crunch. A decline in rubber imports is also expected to weigh on supply, said Mathew Thomas, the owner of Kallarakkal Agencies in Kerala.
In Jan-Dec, the country imported 508,304 tn of the commodity, down from 596,577 tn a year ago, Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics’ data showed.
In Kochi and Kottayam, the widely-traded RSS-4 variety was sold at 138-139 rupees per kg, up 1 rupee from the previous day, traders said. However, data from the Rubber Board showed that rubber was sold at 136 rupees per kg in Kottayam, unchanged from the previous close. In Kochi, it was at 135.50 rupees, down 0.50 rupee.
The following table shows today’s closing prices of rubber, in rupees per kg, as detailed by the Rubber Board, and the change in prices, in rupees, compared with the previous close:
US$1 = 71.64 rupees
Edited by Maheswaran Parameswaran