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SINGAPORE: Japanese rubber futures climbed to a one-week high on Tuesday, supported by hopes of stimulus and stronger demand in China, though a stronger yen capped gains.

The Osaka Exchange (OSE) rubber contract for May delivery was up 0.6 yen, or 0.2%, at 270.7 yen ($1.83) per kg at closing. The rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange (SHFE) for January delivery was up 20 yuan, or 0.2%, at 13,980 yuan ($1,954.53) per metric ton. China’s central bank on Monday said it would fend off systemic risks to the economy and use forceful and targeted monetary policy to better support domestic demand.

Rubber inventories in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 8.6% from a week earlier, the exchange said on Friday. The Japanese yen made up some ground on Tuesday in the wake of continued dollar weakening, with the dollar/yen inching down around 0.3% to 148.21 yen per greenback.

The Bank of Japan is expected to begin exiting from its ultra-loose monetary policy sometime next year, with more than half of the economists polled by Reuters expecting a move at its April meeting. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei average closed down 0.12%.

“The market is exhibiting range-bound behaviour, influenced by consistently challenging economic data from China,” said a Singapore-based trader. “As the year-end approaches, a decrease in activities and liquidity is anticipated, potentially leading to a broader price range.”

Asian stocks nudged higher on Tuesday, while the dollar wallowed near three-month lows as investors remained convinced the Federal Reserve was done with its rate-hike cycle and looked ahead to a crucial inflation report later this week.

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