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SINGAPORE: Japanese rubber futures fell on Wednesday, tracking losses on the Shanghai market, while weaker economic data from Japan and China fuelled concerns about growth.

The Osaka Exchange rubber contract for September delivery lost 3.1 yen to close 1.2% down at 259.7 yen ($2.06) per kg.

Japan’s core machinery orders fell by more than expected in February for a second consecutive monthly decline, government data showed, with companies holding back from investments as profits are squeezed by rising energy and raw materials costs.

The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for September delivery was down 185 yuan to finish at 13,345 yuan ($2,096.13) a tonne. Demand for natural rubber in Shanghai was still low owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, a Singapore-based trader said.

China’s imports fell unexpectedly in March as COVID-19 curbs across large parts of the country hampered freight arrivals and weakened domestic demand while export growth slowed, prompting analysts to predict weaker trade in the second quarter.

The Chinese city of Shanghai warned on Wednesday that anyone who violates COVID-19 lockdown rules will be dealt with strictly.

The front-month rubber contract on Singapore Exchange’s SICOM platform for May delivery last traded at 171.1 US cents per kg, down 1.3%.

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