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SINGAPORE Japanese rubber futures closed higher on Friday as oil prices inched up, though bearish economic sentiment and weak wage data capped further gains.

The Osaka Exchange (OSE) rubber contract for March delivery was up 1.3 yen, or 0.6%, at 231 yen ($1.55) per kg at closing. The benchmark contract recorded a 1.8% monthly loss after two months of gains. Oil prices were on track for their steepest weekly decline since March despite rising for the day, as a US bond market sell-off sparked concerns of a global economic slowdown and worries about a sharp fall in fuel demand.

Natural rubber often takes direction from oil prices as it competes for market share with synthetic rubber, which is made from crude oil. Japanese stocks witnessed robust selling by foreign investors last week, as concerns about elevated US interest rates and rising Treasury yields dampened risk appetite.

Japan’s real wages in August declined for a 17th straight month, government data showed, as persistent price hikes continued to outpace salaries.

Inflation-adjusted real wages is a barometer of consumer purchasing power. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei average closed down 0.26%, dragged down by the declines in heavyweight technology stocks, as investors awaited the US jobs report later in the day for clues on the Federal Reserve’s interest rate path.

Ivory Coast’s rubber output will reach a record 1.5 million tonnes this year, up from 1.3 million tonnes in 2022, the head of the country’s natural rubber association, APROMAC, said on Thursday.

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