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SINGAPORE: Japanese rubber futures rose on Wednesday as Asian equities strengthened on easing fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine this week, while high raw material prices also lent support.

The Osaka Exchange rubber contract for July delivery finished up 2.6 yen, or 1%, at 256.8 yen ($2.22) per kg.

Asian shares rallied on Wednesday as fears of a Russian invasion of the Ukraine this week dissipated after Moscow indicated it was returning some troops to base in an apparent de-escalation, delivering investors a measure of relief.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei share average rose 2.2%, led by technology stocks tracking gains in their U.S. peers and as the Ukraine crisis eased.

Traders noted continued strength in latex prices, which in Thailand have climbed more than 25% so far this year to their highest since last March.

“Rubber producers, hence, have less margins to purchase these raw materials and will produce smaller output, pushing up rubber prices,” said a Singapore-based trader.

The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for May delivery was down 40 yuan to finish at 14,285 yuan ($2,255.04) per tonne.

The front-month rubber contract on Singapore Exchange’s SICOM platform for March delivery last traded at 177.7 U.S. cents per kg, down 0.1%.

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