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SINGAPORE: Japanese rubber futures fell on Wednesday, after weaker domestic trade data fuelled worries about slowing economic growth and as the COVID-19 pandemic situation in Shanghai continued to weigh on sentiment.

The Osaka Exchange rubber contract for September delivery finished down 4.2 yen, or 1.6%, at 260.8 yen ($2.03) per kg, marking the benchmark’s largest daily percentage decrease since April 7.

Japan recorded a trade deficit in March that was more than four times wider than market forecasts, as China-bound exports slowed sharply while soaring energy prices raised the cost of imports, adding to economic challenges brought by conflict in Ukraine.

“There are mixed sentiments on China’s COVID-19 situation,” said a Singapore-based trader.

While some feel that the worst is over, existing COVID-19 control measures are still affecting the movement of logistics in the country, he added.

The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for September delivery fell 115 yuan to finish at 13,400 yuan ($2,090.48) per tonne, its biggest daily percentage decrease since April 7.

German auto parts supplier Bosch has resumed production at a plant in Changchun, China, but its Thermotechnology factory in Shanghai remains shut down, the company said on Tuesday, amid strict government restrictions to tackle a surge in COVID-19 cases. China stocks fell on Wednesday after the central bank surprisingly kept its benchmark lending rates unchanged.

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