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SINGAPORE: Japanese rubber futures rose on Friday and posted their second straight weekly increase on a weaker yen and tight raw material supply from top-producer Thailand.

The Osaka Exchange rubber contract for August delivery finished 1.1 yen, or 0.4%, higher at 256.3 yen ($2.11) per kg. The benchmark gained 3.3% over the week. Raw material volumes in Thailand are still very low owing to the heavy rain since last week in the southern and northern regions of the country, which affected tapping, one Singapore-based trader said. The dollar traded at 121.67 yen against 121.43 yen on Thursday afternoon in Asia. A weaker Japanese currency makes yen-denominated assets more affordable for buyers with other currencies.

The yen was heading for its worst week in two years, pummelled by Japan’s rising import costs and low interest rates. Japan’s factory production is likely to have risen in February for the first time in three months as supply constraints eased slightly, a Reuters poll showed, but analysts say the Ukraine crisis poses downside risks to the outlook.

The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for May delivery was up 50 yuan to finish at 13,510 yuan ($2,122.55) a tonne. Rubber inventories in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 1.6% from last Friday, the exchange said. The front-month rubber contract for April delivery last traded down 0.6% on Singapore Exchange’s SICOM platform at 171.5 US cents per kg.

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