TOKYO, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Key TOCOM rubber futures shrugged off the yen’s rise to a near one-week high early on Wednesday, inching higher on tentative hopes for the latest corporate earnings season.
* The key Tokyo Commodity Exchange rubber contract for June delivery <0#2JRU:> was up 0.9 percent, or 2.9 yen, at 308.5 yen per kg as of 0045 GMT. The benchmark index has rallied about 25 percent in the past two months, spurred by broad yen weakness on the prospect of further monetary easing and aggressive policy to energise Japan’s ailing economy.
* Alcoa Inc, the largest aluminium producer in the United States, reported an in-line fourth-quarter profit after the market close on Tuesday, raising the prospect that U.S. corporate profits are higher than the third quarter’s lacklustre results.
* China’s annual consumer inflation likely accelerated to a seven-month high of 2.3 percent in December, a Reuters poll showed, but price pressures are expected to remain benign for the year.
* Gold rose nearly 1 percent on Tuesday as strong Asian physical demand and bargain hunting after three straight sessions of losses lifted bullion prices to $1,660 an ounce.
* Japan’s Nikkei average shed 1 percent in early trade on Wednesday, heading for a third straight session of losses, as the rebounding yen prompted investors to take profits.
* U.S. crude oil prices slipped 4 cents to settle at $93.15 a barrel on Tuesday, weighed down by selling tied to the annual reweighting of the S&P GSCI commodity index.
* The dollar lost around 0.2 percent to 86.96 yen in early trading on Tuesday as investors felt the time was ripe to book profits.
* The following data is expected on Wednesday: :
London Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee starts two-day meeting
– 0930 UK trade data for Nov ( GBTBAL=ECI)
– 1100 Germany industrial output for Nov ( DEIP=ECI)
– 1100 US Mortgage market index
(Reporting by Yuko Inoue; Editing by Joseph Radford)