Rubber futures in Tokyo held near a two-month high as car sales advanced in China, the biggest consumer of the commodity used in tires, and amid optimism that a global economic recovery will boost demand.
The contract for delivery in May on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange was little changed at 279.9 yen a kilogram ($2,723 a metric ton) at 11:59 a.m. local time after rising as much as 0.8 percent and falling as much as 0.5 percent. The price yesterday touched 282.5 yen, the highest intra-day level for a most-active contract since Sept. 24.
China’s passenger-vehicle sales rose 16 percent in November, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers yesterday, as Japanese automakers extended their recovery in the largest auto market. The U.S. jobless rate dropped to a five-year low of 7 percent last month as employers added more workers than forecast, data showed last week.
“Rubber is supported by expectations that a global economic recovery will boost demand,” said Takaki Shigemoto, an analyst at JSC Corp. in Tokyo. “Auto sales figures from China are also supportive.”
China’s imports of natural rubber climbed to a record 270,000 tons last month, 42 percent higher from October and up 25 percent from the same period last year, data showed Dec. 8.
The contract for May delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange lost 0.3 percent to 19,730 yuan($3,250) a ton. Thai rubber free-on-board added 0.6 percent to 82.45 baht ($2.58) a kilogram on Dec. 9, according to the Rubber Research Institute of Thailand. Thai markets were closed yesterday for a holiday.