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TOKYO: Japanese rubber futures rose on Monday as investors looked for bargains following Friday’s plunge, but gains were capped by fears over the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant and travel restrictions by many countries. Osaka Exchange’s rubber contract for May delivery finished 1.4 yen, or 0.6%, higher at 247.7 yen ($2.2) per kg.

The global spread of the Omicron has brought new cases in Australia, Denmark, France and the Netherlands, prompting nations to reconsider plans for international travel as they scramble to avert an outbreak.

Japan said on Monday it would close its borders to foreigners, as the world’s third-largest economy joined Israel in taking the toughest measures against the Omicron. But a South African doctor who had treated cases said symptoms of the virus were so far mild.

The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for May delivery rose 75 yuan to finish at 15,435 yuan ($2,419) per tonne. The Shanghai International Energy Exchange (INE) said on Friday deliveries of rubber against its technically specified rubber (TSR) 20 futures can only be made in multiples of 100 tonnes from June 1, 2022, compared with 10 tonnes now.

Rubber inventories in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 4.9% from a week earlier, the exchange said on Friday. The front-month rubber contract on Singapore’s SICOM exchange for December delivery last traded at 175.1 US cents per kg, down 0.6%. ($1 = 113.4200 yen.

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