Rubber Posts Biggest Weekly Drop Since April on China Demand

Jan 10, 2014 3:11 am ET

Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Rubber in Tokyo declined, capping the largest weekly loss since April, amid speculation that China’s economy is slowing and will weaken demand for the commodity used in tires.

The contract for delivery in June on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange fell as much as 1.1 percent to 254.1 yen a kilogram ($2,420 a metric ton), matching a two-month low reached Jan. 7. Futures settled at 256.3 yen, bringing the week’s drop to 6.6 percent, the most since the five days through April 19.

Declines in consumer prices and manufacturing stoked concern that economic growth in the biggest rubber user is faltering. The main car association in China forecast that the nation’s automobile market will see slower growth this year as anti-pollution and austerity campaigns spread.

“Concern increased that raw-material demand from China will weaken,” said Naohiro Niimura, partner at Market Risk Advisory, a research company in Tokyo.

China, which in 2013 became the first country to have domestic sales surpass 20 million vehicles a year, will see deliveries rise as much as 10 percent in 2014 after last year’s 14 percent growth, the state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said yesterday.

Rubber in Shanghai trimmed a weekly loss after customs data showed China’s imports reached a record last month. The contract for May delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange added 0.4 percent to close at 16,920 yuan ($2,795) a ton, down 4 percent this week. It fell to 16,735 yuan on Jan. 8, the lowest close for a most-active contract since September 2009.

Rubber free-on-board dropped 0.3 percent to 77.95 baht ($2.36) a kilogram today, according to the Rubber Research Institute of Thailand.

--With assistance from Supunnabul Suwannakij in Bangkok. Editors: Sungwoo Park, Jarrett Banks