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SINGAPORE: Japanese rubber futures rose on Monday, tracking gains in the Shanghai market on lower production, even as protests in several Chinese cities over the country’s strict Covid-19 curbs weighed on sentiment.

Osaka Exchange’s rubber contract for May delivery finished up 1.7 yen, or 0.8%, at 214.0 yen ($1.55) per kg. The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for January delivery rose 135 yuan to finish at 12,855 yuan ($1,784) per tonne.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei share average closed 0.42% lower. “Despite the protests over Covid-19 restrictions in China weighing on sentiment, SHFE prices might be seeing some support from shrinking natural rubber production in Yunnan and Hainan provinces,” said a Singapore-based trader.

“However, should the protests get out of control, the rubber market will follow the general trend,” he added.

Mainland China’s Health Commission reported 40,347 new coronavirus cases for Nov. 24, compared with 39,791 new cases a day earlier.

Hundreds of demonstrators and police clashed in Shanghai on Sunday night as protests over China’s stringent Covid restrictions flared for a third day and spread to several cities.

China’s industrial firms saw overall profits decline further in the January-October period as Covid-19 outbreaks flared up and cities imposed new virus curbs, dampening economic activity.

Stocks and commodities prices slid sharply on Monday as rare protests in major Chinese cities against the country’s strict zero-Covid curbs raised investors’ concerns about the growth implications for the world’s second-largest economy.

The front-month rubber contract on Singapore Exchange’s SICOM platform for December delivery last traded at 126.6 US cents per kg, up 0.4%.

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