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TOKYO: Japanese rubber futures rose on Wednesday, recouping some of the previous day’s losses as investors looked for bargains, but uncertainty over the impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant kept gains in check.

Osaka Exchange’s rubber contract for May delivery finished 4.9 yen, or 2%, higher at 245.9 yen ($2.2) per kg.

The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for May delivery gained 75 yuan to finish at 15,220 yuan ($2,389) per tonne.

Air travellers to the United States will face tougher COVID-19 testing rules, while more countries tightened their borders amid uncertainty around the virulence of the Omicron variant and its ability to evade vaccine protection.

Further dampening risk sentiment, China’s factory activity fell back into contraction in November as subdued demand, shrinking employment and elevated prices weighed on manufacturers, a business survey showed on Wednesday.

The front-month rubber contract on Singapore’s SICOM exchange for January delivery last traded at 178.4 U.S. cents per kg, up 1.4%.

Ivory Coast exported 993,664 tonnes of natural rubber from January to October, up more than 2% from the same period in 2020, provisional port data showed on Tuesday.

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