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TOCOM rubber inches higher, but books 6th straight weekly loss

TOKYO, June 3 (Reuters) – Benchmark Tokyo rubber futures inched higher on Friday, helped by short-covering ahead of the weekend and U.S.jobs data due later in the day, but marked a sixth straight weekly loss amid lingering concerns over slower demand in top buyer China.

The Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) rubber contract for November delivery JRUc6 0#2JRU: finished 0.2 yen higher at 157.9 yen ($1.45) per kg. For the week, TOCOM futures, which set the tone for tyre rubber prices in Southeast Asia, slid 2.6 percent, falling for a sixth week in a row, the longest losing streak since July last year. “Investors unwound their positions ahead of the U.S.payroll data amid growing expectations of a near-term Federal Reserve rate hike,” a Tokyo-based dealer said.

Market consensus is for the U.S.economy to have created 164,000 jobs in May, little changed from April.

ECONUS TOCOM was also lifted by short-covering after the market bounced off support at 156 yen the previous day, traders said. “We heard it has started raining in Thailand in a sign of ending the dry wintering season, but actual output has not increased as expected.

That buoyed prices in near-term contracts such as the June and the July delivery,” another dealer said. Rubber is tapped year-round, but latex output drops during the dry wintering season, when trees shed leaves.

Wintering in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia lasts from around February to May. “Since the TOCOM market has been oversold, we expect a rebound toward 163 yen, then 180 yen starting next week,” he said.

The benchmark has fallen more than 20 percent since hitting a recent high of 205.1 yen on April 27. The most-active rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for September delivery SNRcv1 rose 165 yuan to finish at 10,515 yuan ($1,596.91) per tonne. The front-month rubber contract on Singapore’s SICOM exchange for July delivery STFc1 last traded at 127.0 U.S. cents per kg, up 1.1 cent.

($1 = 108.7700 yen)

($1 = 6.5846 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)

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