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SINGAPORE: Japanese rubber futures edged higher on Friday and headed for its first weekly rise in four, lifted by gains in the Shanghai market and domestic equities, while stronger crude prices added support.

The Osaka Exchange (OSE) rubber contract for August delivery was up 1.0 yen, or 0.4%, at 226.7 yen ($1.68) per kg as of 0205 GMT, after hitting its highest since Jan. 10 earlier in the session.

For the week, the benchmark OSE contract has gained about 2.0%. The OSE was closed on Thursday for a public holiday in Japan. The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange (SHFE) for May delivery was up 10 yuan, or 0.1%, at 12,630 yuan ($1,827) per tonne.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei share average opened up 0.15%. Oil prices settled up 2% on Thursday on expectations of steep cuts to Russian production next month, but a stronger dollar and a sharper-than-expected jump in US inventories added to demand concerns. The natural rubber market is helped by stronger oil prices as manufacturers are incentivised to shift away from synthetic rubber that is derived from oil, driving natural rubber prices higher.

Japan’s core consumer inflation hit a fresh 41-year high in January as companies passed on higher costs to households, data showed on Friday, keeping the central bank under pressure to phase out its massive stimulus programme.

Asian markets breathed a sigh of relief on Friday as the incoming head of Japan’s central bank soothed fears of an early end to its super-easy monetary policies, nudging bond yields lower globally.

The front-month rubber contract on Singapore Exchange’s SICOM platform for March delivery last traded at 139.4 US cents per kg, down 0.1%.

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