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Asia Rubber-Tokyo futures lift prices; Bridgestone buys SIR20

* Bridgestone buys SIR20, SMR20 also traded

* Thai grades unsold, TOCOM rebounds

By Lewa Pardomuan

SINGAPORE, June 20 (Reuters) – Singapore dealers chasedIndonesian rubber on behalf of top tyre maker Bridgestone Corp for August delivery, industry sources said on Friday,while a few Malaysian cargoes changed hands this week, butbusiness was lethargic in Thailand.

Tyre grade prices have regained strength after benchmarkTokyo futures rallied on firm oil prices, higherequities and a softer yen, moving away from near five-year lowhit in early June. Tokyo futures tend to track other markets.

Indonesia’s SIR20 was traded overnight at $1.73 to $1.74 akg without freight, higher than $1.68 to $1.695 transacted lastweek. Malaysian SMR20 changed hands at much higher price, butthere were no reports of deals for Thai RSS3 and STR20 grades.

Despite the deals, the rubber market was still underpressure due to concerns over economic growth in top consumerChina, a global oversupply and a lack of margins for processors.

“I would say the demand is not there. Tappers and processorsare complaining the market has no support,” said a physicaldealer in Singapore.

“Rubber tappers’ income are so low and they can’t survive.China is showing some interest but their price is too low, andit’s at least $50 a tonne below the market.”

Inventories in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai FuturesExchange have slipped to their lowest since November at about149,000 tonnes, but stocks in the bonded warehouses in Qingdaoremain high and are estimated by dealers at more than 300,000tonnes. (SNR-TOTAL-DW)

The most active rubber contract on Tokyo Commodity Exchange,currently November, is still down more than 23 percentso far this year despite a recent rebound.

A fresh round of selling on TOCOM could drag down the TSRcontract on Singapore’s SICOM exchange, which covers SIR20,SMR20 and STR20 grades.

SMR20 changed hands at $1.82 a kg late on Thursday, but thequantity was small and it could be a one-off deal given the highprice compared with Thai grades. SMR20 was sold at $1.77 a kglast week.

RSS3 was offered at $2.15 to $2.17 a kg for August, higherthan $2.02 to $2.03 last week. STR20 was quoted at $1.79 to$1.80 a kg, almost matching the production cost of about $1.80,said dealers.

“Wintering is over and supply is very good,” said a dealerin Thailand. “I heard that Indonesian rubber has been traded,but it’s very quiet here.”

Rubber is tapped year round but latex output drops duringthe dry wintering season, when trees shed leaves. Wintering inThailand and Malaysia lasts from February to April. InIndonesia, wintering lasts from February to May before startingagain in July through September. (Editing by Anand Basu)

– Reuters

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