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Tokyo rubber futures end at 3-month high on weaker yen (Sept 2)

TOKYO, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Tokyo rubber futures bounced back to end at a 3-month high on Monday on a weaker yen and a rise in Nikkei share prices, and after strong factory activity data in China, the world’s biggest rubber consumer, boosted investor sentiment, dealers said.

The benchmark rubber contract on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange for February delivery soared 9.4 yen, or 3.49 percent, to settle at 278.5 yen ($2.84) per kg, the highest close since May 22.

The contract, which rebounded after three straight sessions of falls, rose as much as 3.7 percent to an intra-day high of 279.1 yen, a one-week high.

“A jump in Shanghai rubber market on China’s bullish purchasing managers’ index (PMI), announced on Sunday, helped boost TOCOM prices in the morning although HSBC PMI was not as strong as the official manufacturing PMI,” said Kazuhiko Saito, chief analyst at Fujitomi Co.

China’s factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in more than a year in August with a jump in new orders, official data showed on Sunday, raising hopes that a rapid economic slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy may have been arrested.

A separate manufacturing PMI report from HSBC, released on Monday, showed activity in privately-owned factories increased over August for the first time in four months.

“In the afternoon, the yen’s decline and the Nikkei stock price’s gain gave another boost,” Fujitomi’s Saito said.

The safe-haven yen fell against the dollar to a one-month low on Monday as worries about a military strike against Syria weakened the yen. The Nikkei average rose 1.4 percent.

A weaker yen makes TOCOM rubber more appealing to holders of other currencies.

The most-active rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for January delivery jumped 4.99 percent to settle at 21,055 yuan ($3,400) per tonne, the highest intraday since May 22.

The front-month rubber contract on Singapore’s SICOM exchange for October delivery last traded at 247.00 U.S. cents per kg, up 6.4 cents.

A prolonged protest by rubber farmers in Thailand’s southern Nakhon Si Thammarat province has disrupted distribution systems and delayed thousands of tonnes of prompt Thai rubber shipments for up to two weeks, exporters said on Monday.

But the shipment delays have had little impact on spot physical prices so far. ($1 = 98.1150 Japanese yen) ($1 = 6.1195 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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