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TOKYO: Japanese rubber futures slipped on Wednesday as weak automobile sales in top buyer China fuelled fears of slowing demand for the material, while a firm yen against the U.S. dollar prompted fresh selling.

The Osaka Exchange’s rubber contract for April delivery finished 1.3 yen, or 0.6%, lower at 220.2 yen ($2.0) per kg.

“Slack vehicle sales in China fuelled concerns over slowing economic growth in the country,” a Tokyo-based dealer said.

China’s auto sales fell in October for a sixth consecutive month, slumping 9.4% from a year earlier, industry data showed, as a prolonged global shortage of semiconductors disrupts production.

“OSE also came under pressure as investors adjusted positions as Japan prices have been more expensive than Shanghai prices,” the dealer said.

The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for January delivery rose 110 yuan to finish at 14,080 yuan ($2,203) per tonne.

The dollar was traded near Tuesday’s low of 112.73 yen, a level last seen on Oct. 11. A stronger yen makes yen-denominated assets less affordable when purchased in other currencies.

The front-month rubber contract on Singapore’s SICOM exchange for December delivery last traded at 169.4 U.S. cents per kg, up 0.2%.

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