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SINGAPORE: Japanese rubber futures fell on Wednesday for a second consecutive session amid poor economic data in Japan, but new signs of recovery in top consumer China limited losses.

Osaka Exchange’s rubber contract for February delivery finished 1.7 yen, or 0.7%, lower at 233.7 yen ($1.58) per kg. The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for January delivery fell 145 yuan to finish at 14,205 yuan ($1,946.42) per metric ton. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei average closed down 0.66% at 33,023.78 on Wednesday, while the broader Topix shed 1.00% at 2,405.90.

The Topix index slipped on Wednesday from a 33-year peak scaled last week, with investor mood turning cautious ahead of a raft of key central bank policy decisions. The yen last sat nearly 0.1% higher at 147.77 versus the greenback, off Tuesday’s low of 147.92, though hovering near a 10-month trough against the dollar ahead of the FOMC announcement.

A weaker yen makes assets denominated by the currency more affordable for overseas buyers. On the other hand, China will intensify macro-control efforts and focus on expanding domestic demand, boosting confidence, preventing risk and striving to achieve annual economic development goals, said Cong Liang, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, on Wednesday.

Market sentiment has turned bullish for the Chinese market due to economic stabilisation, and it is unlikely that rubber prices see a new low this year, a Singapore-based rubber trader said.

Stocks struggled to make headway on Wednesday while US yields stood at or near decade highs along the curve as surging oil prices stoked inflation and set the scene for the Federal Reserve to project higher interest rates for longer.

The front-month rubber contract on Singapore Exchange’s SICOM platform for October delivery last traded at 141.2 US cents per kg, down 0.1%.

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