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TOKYO: Japanese rubber futures touched an eight-month low on Friday, as a spike in cases of the Delta coronavirus variant in Japan and several other countries dented risk appetite.

The Osaka Exchange’s rubber contract for December delivery finished 0.6 yen lower at 216.4 yen ($2.0) per kg, after touching the Nov. 11 low of 212.2 yen earlier in the session.

For the week, the benchmark recorded a 0.8% loss.

The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for September delivery fell 20 yuan to finish at 13,315 yuan ($2,053) per tonne.

Japan declared a fourth coronavirus state of emergency for the capital city of Tokyo on Thursday, just two weeks before the Olympic Games are due to begin.

From Monday, South Korea will for the first time tighten coronavirus curbs to the strictest level possible in Seoul and neighbouring regions, as alarm spreads with new COVID-19 cases setting a second consecutive daily record nationwide.

The front-month rubber contract on Singapore’s SICOM exchange for August delivery last traded at 162.9 US cents per kg, up 0.4%.

Rubber inventories in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 2.1% from last Friday, the exchange said.

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