Rubber Falls on Concern Demand May Weaken as China Orders Slow

March 1 (Bloomberg) -- Rubber fell the most in almost four months on concern that demand may weaken after manufacturing growth slowed in China and Japan’s consumer prices dropped.

The contract for delivery in August lost 3 percent, the biggest slump at close since Nov. 5, to 284.1 yen a kilogram ($3,070 a metric ton) on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange. Futures lost 7.2 percent last month, the worst performance since June, and fell for a third week.

A Chinese manufacturing index fell for a second month as a gauge of new orders declined, a signal the nation’s economic recovery may be losing steam. Japan’s consumer prices excluding fresh food fell 0.2 percent in January from a year earlier, the third-straight decline, the statistics bureau said.

“Japan’s macro-economic data are lower than market expectations, and Chinese statistics aren’t good today,” said Naohiro Niimura, a partner at research company Market Risk Advisory in Tokyo.

China’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index was 50.1 in February, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said today in Beijing. That compares with the 50.5 median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 31 analysts and 50.4 in January. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The contract for September delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange lost 3 percent to close at 23,965 yuan ($3,851) a ton. Thai rubber free-on-board dropped 0.5 percent to 88.75 baht ($2.98) a kilogram today, according to the Rubber Research Institute of Thailand.

To contact the reporter on this story: Supunnabul Suwannakij in Bangkok at ssuwannakij@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brett Miller at bmiller30@bloomberg.net