Rubber Posts Sixth Weekly Drop on Yen’s Rally, Demand Concerns

Jan 24, 2014 2:39 am ET

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Rubber in Tokyo slid to a five-month low, dropping for a sixth week, as the Japanese currency strengthened amid growing concern that a slowdown in emerging economies will curb demand.

The contract for delivery in June on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange fell 2.3 percent to 241.5 yen a kilogram ($2,336 a metric ton), the lowest settlement since July 31. Futures dropped 4.6 percent this week, falling for a sixth week, the longest losing streak since October 2008. Prices lost 12 percent this month.

The yen climbed the most in four months yesterday as a sell-off in global stocks boosted demand for the Japanese currency as a haven, reducing the appeal of yen-based futures. A preliminary report from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics indicated that manufacturing in China, the world’s largest rubber user, may contract for the first time in six months.

“Concerns about growth in China and other emerging economies deepened, raising speculation that raw-material demand may weaken,” said Takaki Shigemoto, an analyst at JSC Corp., a research company in Tokyo.

Rubber for May delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.1 percent to close at 16,570 yuan ($2,739) a ton. Rubber free-on-board fell 0.7 percent to 76.25 baht ($2.32) a kilogram yesterday, said the Rubber Research Institute of Thailand.

Anti-government protests in Thailand may curb rubber supply from the world’s largest exporter by 10 percent to 20 percent this month and in February from an average of 300,000 tons to 350,000 tons a month, according to Von Bundit Co., the nation’s second-largest producer.

--Editors: Sungwoo Park, Jarrett Banks