TOKYO: Japanese rubber futures fell to their three-week lows on Monday as fears that surging COVID-19 cases in top buyer China would dent demand, while a firmer yen against the U.S. dollar added to the pressure.
The Osaka Exchange rubber contract for June delivery was down 1.9 yen, or 0.9%, at 218.1 yen ($1.7) per kg as of 0214 GMT. It touched the lowest since Dec. 5 of 216.6 yen earlier in the session.
But the rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for May delivery was up 55 yuan, or 0.4%, at 12,700 yuan per tonne, after sliding to the lowest since Nov. 22 of 12,520 yuan earlier in the session.
China’s Zhejiang, a big industrial province near Shanghai, is battling around a million new daily COVID-19 infections, which is expected to double in the days ahead, the provincial government said on Sunday.
China is expecting a peak in COVID-19 infections within a week, a health official said on Friday, with authorities predicting extra strain on the country’s health system even as they downplay the disease’s severity and continue to report no new deaths.