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SINGAPORE: Japanese rubber futures edged up in volatile trade on Thursday on a weaker yen and stronger global equities while the ongoing Ukraine conflict and lower Shanghai prices weighed on sentiment, capping gains.

The Osaka Exchange rubber contract for August delivery ended up 0.5 yen, or 0.2%, at 245.2 yen ($2.06) per kg.

Rebounding equities and a weakening yen supported OSE prices, a Singapore-based trader said, adding that low Shanghai prices capped gains.

“While things in Ukraine may get better as talks progress, the effects of the sanctions still remain intact. Traders’ risk appetite is still quite low since no one knows how long the conflict is going to drag on,” said another Singapore-based trader.

“The market is quite flat as no one is daring to take new positions as there’s just too much uncertainty,” he added.

The dollar traded at 118.73 yen, against 118.19 yen on Wednesday afternoon in Asia. A weaker yen makes yen-denominated assets more affordable when purchased in other currencies.

Japan’s Nikkei posted its highest close of around 3.5% in more than two weeks on Thursday, tracking an overnight rally on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve hiked rates as expected, while hopes for a breakthrough in the Russia-Ukraine conflict lifted sentiment.

The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for May delivery was down 15 yuan to finish at 13,290 yuan ($2,093.54) per tonne.

China’s public health governance is expected to come under acute pressure in the coming weeks as the biggest wave of COVID-19 cases since the 2020 Wuhan outbreak stretches medical resources, tests the country’s ability to contain infections and strains the economy.

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