TOKYO, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Tokyo rubber futures rose nearly 2 percent to a 2-1/2-month high on Monday as solid economic data from top rubber consumers China and the United States brightened the outlook for the global economy, and led to a softer yen and higher equities prices.
The benchmark rubber contract on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange for May delivery rose 5.3 yen, or 1.9 percent, to settle at 281.1 yen ($2.74) per kg, the highest closing price since Sept 24. It earlier hit an intraday high of 282.3 yen.
“Strong U.S. payrolls data, along with China’s trade figures, made investors believe the global economy is steadily improving,” said Masahiro Tamagawa, a derivatives marketing manager at Dot Commodity.
“The softer yen and firmer share prices also boosted investor sentiment,” he said.
U.S. employers hired more workers than expected in November and the jobless rate hit a five-year low of 7.0 percent, raising chances the Federal Reserve could start ratcheting back its bond-buying stimulus as soon as this month.
China’s exports handily beat forecasts in November, customs data showed on Sunday, adding to recent evidence of a stabilisation in the world’s second-largest economy as its leaders embark on an ambitious restructuring plan.
The dollar held firm against the yen at 103.15 yen following Friday’s 1.1 percent rally, not far from the six-month peak of 103.38 hit on last Tuesday.
Japan’s Nikkei climbed 2.3 percent on Monday, its best one-day gain in three months, spurred by a slide in the yen after an upbeat U.S. jobs report raised expectations the Federal Reserve will soon begin removing its stimulus.
“TOCOM benchmark will likely try 290 yen level, last hit on Sept. 9,” Dot Commodity’s Tamagawa said.
The most-active rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for May delivery was up 405 yuan at 19,830 yuan ($3,300) per tonne.
The front-month January rubber contract on Singapore’s SICOM exchange was last traded at 234.2 U.S. cents per kg, down 0.6 cents.
($1 = 102.7050 Japanese yen)
($1 = 6.0817 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)