SINGAPORE: Japanese rubber futures fell on Friday, tracking losses in the Shanghai market and weighed down by weakness in domestic equities, as mixed messaging over the future of the zero-Covid policies in top consumer China weighed on sentiment.
The Osaka Exchange rubber contract for March delivery was down 1.1 yen, or 0.5%, at 224.3 yen ($1.49) per kg as of 0200 GMT. The benchmark contract has declined about 2.2% for the week.
The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for January delivery was down 40 yuan, or 0.3%, at 12,395 yuan ($1,711) per tonne. The benchmark Nikkei share average opened down 0.38%. China’s capital, Beijing, has dialled up measures to stop Covid, strengthening public checks and locking down some residential compounds after a quadrupling of its caseload in recent weeks, just as a key Communist Party Congress entered full swing.
However, Beijing is also considering cutting the quarantine period for visitors to 7 days from 10 days, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Past months have seen growing concerns over slowing rubber demand in China as the country struggles with a property crisis, heat waves disrupting production, and extended lockdowns hitting industrial activity and consumption.
Rubber output in top exporter Thailand might be affected by forecasts for continued heavy rain and flood warnings in the traditional southern rubber growing provinces.
Japan’s core consumer inflation rate accelerated to a fresh eight-year high of 3.0% in September, exceeding the central bank’s 2% target for the sixth straight month as the yen’s slump to 32-year lows continue to push up import costs.
The front-month rubber contract on Singapore Exchange’s SICOM platform for November delivery last traded at 126.1 US cents per kg, up 0.2%.