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Tokyo rubber futures end down 2.1 pct on strong yen (May 29)

TOKYO, May 29 (Reuters) – Benchmark Tokyo rubber futuresfell to a near two-week low and ended down 2.1 percent onThursday, due to a stronger yen and a 2.9 percent rise inJapanese rubber inventories.

The benchmark rubber contract on the Tokyo CommodityExchange (TOCOM) for November delivery fell 4.2 yen tosettle at 200.4 yen ($1.97) per kg.

The contract fell to as low as 200.2 yen, the lowest sinceMay 16.

“Despite the rise in Shanghai futures, TOCOM cannot rise dueto a strong yen/dollar,” said Kaname Gokon, general manager ofresearch at broker Okato Shoji. “Overall, the market sentimentis basically turning downward.”

The dollar eased 0.1 percent to about 101.73 yen,down from a two-week high near 102.15 yen touched earlier thisweek.

Crude rubber inventories at Japanese ports stood at 22,514tonnes as of May 20, up 2.89 percent from 10 days earlier, datafrom the Rubber Trade Association of Japan showed on Thursday.

Japanese retail sales fell 4.4 percent in April from a yearearlier, the fastest annual decline since the March 2011earthquake, as consumers cut back on shopping after an increasein sales tax.

A Thai administrative court will need several days ofhearings before it can rule on a petition by farmers to haltgovernment plans to sell 200,000 tonnes of state rubber stocks,a court spokesman said late on Wednesday.

The government, which bought the stocks from farmers in anintervention scheme running from October 2012 to May 2013 inorder to prop up prices, had intended to sell the stocks lastmonth.

The most-active rubber contract on the Shanghai futuresexchange for September delivery fell 165 yuan to finishat 14,300 yuan per tonne.

The front-month rubber contract on Singapore’s SICOMexchange for June delivery last traded at 171.00 U.S.cents per kg, down 0.7 cent.

($1 = 101.7550 Japanese yen) (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Sunil Nair andClarence Fernandez)

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