SINGAPORE: Japanese rubber futures ended marginally lower on Tuesday after China released another slew of disappointing trade data but a softer yen limited losses.
Osaka Exchange’s rubber contract for January delivery finished 0.8 yen, or 0.4%, lower at 196.2 yen ($1.37) per kg, in its sixth straight day of losses.
The benchmark contract has been hovering near a two-year low since July 18.
The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for January delivery fell 5 yuan to finish at 12,890 yuan ($1,787.40) per metric ton.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei average closed up 0.38%.
China’s imports and exports fell much faster than expected in July, threatening growth prospects in the world’s second-largest economy and heightening pressure for the government to provide fresh stimulus to prop up demand.
Oil prices slipped on Tuesday after data showed China’s imports and exports fell much more than expected in July in a further sign of weak growth in the world’s largest oil importer, although losses were limited by expected supply tightness.
Lower crude prices incentivise manufacturers to shift to rival synthetic rubber, derived from oil, hindering the natural rubber market.
Still, the yen weakened 0.41% against the dollar to 143.10, making yen-dominated assets more affordable for overseas buyers.
Asian share markets were mostly weaker but the dollar strode higher as investors digested weaker Chinese trade data ahead of key inflation readings from China and the United States due later this week.
The front-month rubber contract on Singapore Exchange’s SICOM platform for September delivery last traded flat at 127.7 US cents per kg.