Benchmark Tokyo rubber futures hit their lowest level since 2009 on Monday, in line with a slump in Shanghai futures, after weak Chinese factory activity renewed worries over slowing demand in the world's top consumer. The Tokyo Commodity Exchange rubber contract for June delivery finished 6.2 yen lower at 152.8 yen per kg after tumbling to as low as 152.4 yen, the lowest since July 13, 2009.
The most-active rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for May delivery fell 515 yuan to finish at 10,180 yuan per tonne, after falling more than 4 percent to the lowest since December 18 earlier. The front-month rubber contract on Singapore's SICOM exchange for February delivery last traded at 109.50 US cents per kg, down 4.2 cents. The Japanese yen hit an 11-week high against the dollar, casting additional pressure on TOCOM, as tensions in the Middle East and soft Chinese data added bids to the safe-haven Japanese currency.
China's factory activity shrank for a 10th straight month in December as surveys across Asia showed industry struggling with slack demand even as the policy cupboard is looking increasingly bare of fresh stimulus. Uncertainty over the economic outlook was exacerbated by a flare up in tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. "After Chinese PMI data, Shanghai (rubber) futures dropped and the yen strengthened against the dollar, and TOCOM followed suit sharply lower," said a source with a Tokyo-based dealer.