Rubber in Tokyo swung between gains and losses as Japan’s currency breaching 100 per dollar raised the appeal of yen-based contracts, while a slump in oil weakened speculation prices of rival synthetic products will increase.
Rubber for delivery in December was little changed at 256.9 yen a kilogram ($2,564 a metric ton) on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange at 10:22 a.m. after trading between 256.2 yen and 261.4 yen. Futures have gained 8.7 percent this month, paring this year’s losses to 15 percent.
The yen slipped to 100.46 per dollar after data showed new home sales in the U.S. rose more than forecast in June to a five-year high and a manufacturing gauge rose. Crude oil futures in New York dropped the most in more than a month yesterday as U.S. output surged to a 22-year high last week. West Texas Intermediate crude lost 0.3 percent to $105.07 a barrel at 9:46 a.m. Tokyo time, falling for a second day.
“Futures lost steam as a rally in oil took a breather,” said Kazuhiko Saito, an analyst at broker Fujitomi Co. in Tokyo. “The focus is now on whether U.S. economic data will add to evidence for the nation’s recovery and weaken the yen further against the dollar.”
The number of people in the U.S. continuing to claim jobless benefits fell by 89,000 in the week to July 13, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists before data due today. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has said asset purchases that have stoked bond and equity gains may be trimmed this year should economic risks subside.
Rubber for January delivery fell 0.7 percent to 18,455 yuan ($3,007) a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange yesterday. Thai rubber free-on-board dropped 0.4 percent to 79.05 baht ($2.54) a kilogram yesterday, according to Rubber Research Institute of Thailand.
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