* SIR20 sold at 105.50-106.00 cents/lb
* Bridgestone seen buying Indonesian, Thai grades
* China’s bids too low for some sellers
By Lewa Pardomuan
SINGAPORE, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Some rubber sellers turned away from Chinese buyers this week because of low bids, but a few cargoes of Thai and Indonesian grades were sold to tyre makers, including Bridgestone Corp, dealers said on Wednesday.
Bridgestone, the world’s largest tyre maker, bought SIR20 at 105.50 to 105.75 U.S. cents a pound ($2.32 to $2.33 a kg) without freight for February delivery in a series of deals late on Tuesday. That was higher than 105.25 last week.
The grade was also sold to unspecified consumers at 106.00 cents. Buyers from main consumer China had bid both Indonesian and Thai grades on a cost-and-freight basis, but there were no reports of deals.
“There’s price indication at about $2.45 CIF China for STR20, but that’s the only thing I heard from the Thai market,” said a dealer in Kuala Lumpur, referring to the Thai grade.
“China’s bids are very low, so nothing has been traded. It’s a disappointing market because bids and offers are too far apart,” said the dealer, adding that Indonesia’s SIR20 was bid by Chinese buyers at $2.32 a kg CIF.
But most tyre grades in Southeast Asia have risen by a couple of cents in the past week to track gains in Tokyo futures, where the most active May contract touched a 2-1/2 month high on Tuesday on a weaker yen and political risk in main producer Thailand.
The Tokyo market, which sets the tone for physical prices, shrugged off news that Chinastockpiled 60,500 tonnes of domestic rubber last week to support farmers.
Anti-government protesters, ignoring the snap election called by Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, said she should be tried for treason and the whole of her influential family be hounded until they give up politics.
The protests, however, haven’t disrupted commodity trading in Thailand, which is also the world’s No.2 sugar exporter.
Thai RSS3 was traded overnight at between $2.55 and $2.56 a kg for nearby shipment. Last week, the grade was reported sold to Bridgestone at $2.54 a kg for February delivery.
STR20 was offered at $2.43 with no deals, up from $2.40 last week.
“The STR20 market is less active. China’s buying idea is lower than the levels asked by producers,” said a dealer in Thailand.
“Bridgestone maybe chasing more Indonesian grade, but for Thai grades, they are not buying in huge quantity. There are only bits and pieces of buying.”
Malaysia’s SMR20 was offered at $2.42 kg, down slightly from last week’s traded price of $2.43.
Purchases from Bridgestone and more gains in Tokyo rubber futures could underpin the physical market next week.