SINGAPORE: Japanese rubber futures fell on Friday and posted a second consecutive weekly drop, as a weaker Shanghai market and concerns about a global economic slowdown weighed on sentiment.

Osaka Exchange’s (OSE) rubber contract for July delivery finished 2.9 yen, or 1.3%, lower at 224.5 yen ($1.71) per kg. The benchmark contract hit its lowest level since Jan 17 at 223.9 yen earlier in the session.

For the week, the benchmark OSE contract lost about 0.8%. The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange (SHFE) for May delivery fell 125 yuan to finish at 12,545 yuan ($1,845) per tonne.

Rubber inventories in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 1.5% from a week earlier, the exchange said on Friday. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei share average closed up 0.31%.

“Trading has been fairly range-bound this week on the physical and futures market,” said Farah Miller, chief executive officer of Helixtap Technologies, an independent rubber-focused data company. “Restocking in China happened fast and there was a flurry of deals before the Chinese New Year. We have seen a pick-up in local deliveries in China.”

“However, the push down in prices seems like some off-loading of positions - traders would be looking to see if that tapers off soon and if we have reached support levels in the OSE and SHFE before re-entering,” Miller added.

Japan’s Honda Motor Co on Friday posted a 22% rise in third-quarter operating profit to 280.4 billion yen ($2.13 billion), boosted by a weak yen.

Asia-Pacific stocks retreated on Friday, slumping towards a second weekly loss as investors fretted about the potential for further Federal Reserve tightening and the effect on the economy.

The front-month rubber contract on Singapore Exchange’s SICOM platform for March delivery last traded at 137.4 US cents per kg, down 1%.

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