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SINGAPORE: Japanese rubber futures rose on Friday underpinned by a weak yen and yuan, although stagnating Chinese and Japanese economies capped gains.

Osaka Exchange’s rubber contract for February delivery finished 4.1 yen, or 1.8%, higher at 233.9 yen ($1.59) per kg. The benchmark contract rose by 4.3% this week. The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for January delivery rose 180 yuan to finish at 14,370 yuan ($1,956.09) per metric ton.

Traders kept a watch on the yen, which steadied at 147.25 per dollar but remained on the weaker side of the key 145 level. A weaker yen makes assets denominated by the currency more affordable for overseas buyers. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei average closed down 1.16%, sending it to a first weekly loss in three, as the benchmark tracked Wall Street losses amid worries about tighter US Federal Reserve policy and a Chinese iPhone ban.

Japan’s economy grew less than initially estimated in the second quarter and wages slumped in July, casting doubt over central bank projections that solid domestic demand will keep the country on course for a recovery. Despite a series of policy measures in recent months to revive China’s stumbling economy, policymakers expect persistently slower growth. China’s yuan slipped on Friday to its weakest since December 2007, hit by capital outflow pressures and a yield gap with major economies.

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