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SINGAPORE: Japanese rubber futures rose on Friday, as an expansion in China manufacturing activity provided some respite amid weeks of global banking crisis, although the contract recorded its fourth consecutive quarterly drop.

Osaka Exchange’s rubber contract for September delivery finished up 0.9 yen, or 0.4%, at 210.0 yen ($1.58) per kg. The benchmark OSE contract posted its first weekly gain after three weeks, up 2.9%, but fell for its second consecutive month and fourth consecutive quarter, falling 6.3% and 3.7%, respectively. The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for May delivery rose 30 yuan to finish at 11,930 yuan ($1,738.10) per tonne. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei average closed down 0.93%.

China’s manufacturing activity expanded at a slower pace in March, official data showed on Friday, raising doubts about the strength of a post-COVID factory recovery amid weaker global demand and a property market downturn. “The banking crises and rate hikes were the major themes in March; both affected short term futures negatively,” said Farah Miller, chief executive officer of Helixtap Technologies, an independent rubber-focused data company.

“However, on the physical front, after the initial panic selling, there was lots of buying interest midweek from tyre manufacturers and also Chinese traders.”

“Market participants are treading cautiously to see if the prices will be sustained past this week,” she added. Asian shares were headed for a second quarterly gain on Friday while bonds were enjoying the best month since 2008, but the market was braced for a stormy session after an upside surprise in German CPI raised the stakes for US inflation data.

The front-month rubber contract on Singapore Exchange’s SICOM platform for April delivery last traded at 135.0 US cents per kg, up 0.5%.

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