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SINGAPORE: Japanese rubber futures slipped to a four-week low on Tuesday, as data showing a weaker-than-expected economic rebound weighed on investor sentiment and a firmer yen added pressure.

The Osaka Exchange (OSE) rubber contract for July delivery was down 0.9 yen, or 0.4%, at 221.7 yen ($1.68) per kg, as of 0228 GMT, after hitting its lowest since Jan. 16 at 221.4 earlier in the session.

The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for May delivery was up 10 yuan, or 0.1%, at 12,565 yuan ($1,844) per tonne. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei share average opened up 1.01%. Japan’s economy averted recession but rebounded much less than expected in October-December as business investment slumped, a sign of the challenge the central bank faces in phasing out its massive stimulus programme.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.23% to 132.12 per dollar, having slipped 0.7% in the previous session. A stronger yen makes yen-denominated assets less affordable when purchased in other currencies. The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Monday that financial markets have good reason to be more upbeat, pointing to the US economy likely avoiding recession and China’s reopening from pandemic controls.

Asian shares tracked the bounce on Wall Street on Tuesday, as investors remained sanguine that key US economic data due later would show an easing in inflation, while the yen recouped losses ahead of the nomination of a new central bank governor.

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