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SINGAPORE: Japanese rubber futures fell on Tuesday as slowing automotive and tyre production, and vehicle demand concerns dampened market sentiment, although tighter supplies in top producer Thailand limited losses.

The Osaka Exchange (OSE) rubber contract for July delivery closed down 5.1 yen, or 1.76%, at 284 yen ($1.91) per kg. The rubber contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) for May delivery fell 15 yuan to finish at 13,355 yuan ($1,857.00) per metric ton. Stellantis will slow down operations at its Mirafiori plant this month and next in response to weak market demand, a spokesman said on Monday.

The capacity utilisation rate of China’s tyre manufacturers fell week-on-week as of Feb. 1 due to the pre-holiday production break, Chinese-based consultancy Longzhong reported on Tuesday. Both domestic and international tyre sales have slowed, with ample inventory of finished products.

South Korean energy group SK Innovation forecast slowing growth in global electric vehicle (EV) demand, joining an increasing number of automakers and suppliers expressing concern about the EV market.

Toyota’s Chief Financial Officer Yoichi Miyazaki said the share of hybrids in sales improved across all markets including China, but warned that Toyota is not optimistic about conditions in the world’s biggest auto market.

Japan’s real wages fell for a 21st straight month though at a slower pace, while household spending dropped for a tenth consecutive month.

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