Rubber climbed to the highest level in more than eight months after the Japanese yen neared a 2 1/2 year-low and exports from China exceeded forecasts.
Rubber for delivery in June rose as much as 2.8 percent to 316.7 yen a kilogram ($3,597 a metric ton) on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, the highest level for the most-active contract since May 2, and was at 313.5 yen at 11:52 a.m. local time. Futures have gained 3.7 percent this year, extending last year’s advance of 15 percent.
The yen weakened for a second day before data forecast to show the nation’s trade deficit widened, raising the appeal of contracts denominated in the Japanese currency. China’s exports rose 14.1 percent in December from a year earlier, beating a median estimate of 5 percent from 40 analysts in a Bloomberg News survey, helping the nation sustain a pickup in economic growth after a seven-quarter slowdown.
“Weakening yen and better-than-expected Chinese trade data are key drivers boosting the rubber,” Sureerat Kunthongjun, an analyst at AGROW Enterprise Ltd., said by phone from Bangkok. Investors are also optimistic that China will build inventories ahead of the long holidays next month, she said. The country is the world’s biggest rubber importer.
Natural-rubber inventories monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained 1,770 tons to 97,697 tons last week, the highest level since March 2010. China’s markets are closed in the week beginning Feb. 11 for the Lunar New Year holiday.
Rubber for delivery in May gained 0.4 percent to 26,140 yuan ($4,200) a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange. Thai rubber free-on-board rose 0.2 percent to 101.55 baht ($3.34) a kilogram yesterday, according to the Rubber Research Institute of Thailand.
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