TOKYO, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Benchmark Tokyo rubber futures fell on Friday, booking a fifth consecutive monthly loss, weighed down by weaker Shanghai futures and as investors unwound long positions ahead of the weekend. The Tokyo Commodity Exchange rubber contract for April delivery JRUc6 0#2JRU: finished down 1.6 yen, or 1 percent, at 160.3 yen ($1.33) per kg, after hitting a low of 159.1 yen. The TOCOM futures, which set the tone for tyre rubber prices in Southeast Asia, ended October with a 2.9 percent loss, after sinking to a six-year low of 157.1 yen earlier this month amid persistent worries about slowing demand in top buyer China. The yen strengthened against the dollar on Friday after the Bank of Japan held off on expanding its massive stimulus programme, disappointing some speculators.
The dollar fell to as low as 120.29 yen JPY= after Japan’s rate decision, before recovering a little to 120.715, still down a third of a percent on the day. FRX/ “The rubber market has been reflecting the Shanghai market more closely than the currency recently,” Jiong Gu, analyst at Yutaka Shoji Co said.
The most-active rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for January delivery SNRcv1 fell 100 yuan to finish at 10,810 yuan ($1,710.98) per tonne. “China will remain the market’s key focus next week,” Gu said.
“If the Chinese government comes up with some political alliances with Western countries to help boost its economy, it may change the market sentiment and boost rubber prices in Shanghai and Tokyo,” he said. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, along with business delegation, visited China this week after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Britain last week.
The front-month rubber contract on Singapore’s SICOM exchange for November delivery STFc1 last traded at 118.0 U.S. cents per kg, down 6.6 cent. ($1 = 120.4800 yen) ($1 = 6.3180 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Pravin Char)