* TOCOM rubber sees stiff resistance at 250 yen/kg
By Lewa Pardomuan
SINGAPORE, March 17 (Reuters) – High rubber inventories willweigh on Tokyo rubber futures this week.
In the coffee market, higher domestic prices in top robustaproducer Vietnam could spur more selling, while cocoa butterpremiums in Asia may strengthen on demand from chocolate makersfor spot and nearby delivery.
The most active rubber contract on the Tokyo CommodityExchange, currently August rose to 244.8 yen a kg, itsstrongest since Jan. 24, before easing to 237 yen, down 3.2 yen.The contract gained nearly 4 percent last week.
The Tokyo market, which sets the tone for tyre grade pricesin Southeast Asia, could trade in a range of 233 to 248 yen a kgthis week, with key resistance at 250 yen.
“There are high inventories in both Tokyo and Shanghai.Actually, demand is not very good,” said Gu Jiong, an analyst atYutaka Shoji Co in Tokyo. “The whole mood in the market is nottoo strong to push prices over 250 yen.”
Although rubber inventories in warehouses monitored by theShanghai Futures Exchange fell 2.1 percent last week to 192,475tonnes, stocks in the closely-watched bonded warehouses in theport of Qingdao have risen to around 340,000 tonnes from around290,000 tonnes in January.
Crude rubber inventories at Japanese ports stood at 21,456tonnes as of Feb. 28, up 3.6 percent from 10 days earlier.