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SINGAPORE: Japanese rubber futures fell 1% on Friday as geopolitical concerns surrounding key consumer China weighed on market sentiment but still logged a week-on-week gain.

The Osaka Exchange (OSE) rubber contract for October delivery closed down 3.1 yen, or 1%, at 306.2 yen ($1.97) per kg. The contract snapped five consecutive weeks of losses to gain 1.16% this week.

The rubber contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) for September delivery fell 55 yuan to finish at 14,130 yuan ($1,955.87) per metric ton.

Recent rains in Thailand could “signal the end of wintering” and the normalizing of rubber prices, said Farah Miller, CEO of Helixtap Technologies, an independent rubber-focused data company.

Whilst the supply end normalizes post-wintering, demand remains a major factor, with China being a leading indicator, Miller added.

US President Joe Biden is set to announce new China tariffs as soon as next week targeting strategic sectors including electric vehicles, according to two people familiar with the matter.

China stocks were lower, with blue-chip shares down 0.28% as geopolitical concerns weighed on sentiment following a trade restriction list issued by the Biden administration, apart from the potential new China tariff.

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