Rubber futures in Tokyo traded near a five-month low amid concern that slowing economic growth inChina may weaken demand from the world’s largest consumer of the commodity used in tires.
The contract for delivery in June on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange was at 252.2 yen a kilogram ($2,413 a metric ton) at 10:42 a.m. local time after swinging between 251.8 yen and 254.6 yen. Futures settled at 252.3 yen yesterday, the lowest settlement for a most-active contract since Aug. 7.
A manufacturing gauge for China from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics probably dropped to 50.3 this month from 50.5 last month, according to a Bloomberg News survey before data on Jan. 23. Growth in the second-biggest economy slowed in the fourth quarter as gains in factory output and investment spending eased in December, government data showed yesterday.
“Signs of economic slowdown in China sapped investor appetite for rubber futures,” said Kazuhiko Saito, an analyst at Fujitomi Co., a broker in Tokyo.
Losses were limited as the Japanese currency declined against the dollar amid the start of the Bank of Japan’s two-day policy meeting, raising the appeal of yen-based contracts.
Futures for May delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange lost 1.4 percent to 16,660 yuan($2,753) a ton. Stockpiles monitored by the bourse increased 5.6 percent to 200,815 tons, the largest since October 2004, exchange data showed on Jan. 17. It was the seventh straight week of gain.
Rubber free-on-board was unchanged at 77.25 baht ($2.35) a kilogram yesterday, according to the Rubber Research Institute of Thailand. Auctions at Surat Thani rubber market resumed yesterday after being canceled last week on lack of supply, said Sirirat Rattanamontri, an officer at the state-run market.