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Rubber Advances to Two-Week High as Weak Yen Boosts Appeal

Rubber climbed to the highest level in more than two weeks as Japan’s currency dropped to the lowest since June 5, boosting the appeal of yen-based contracts.

The contract for delivery in December gained 1.4 percent to 239.5 yen a kilogram ($2,406 a metric ton) on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, the highest settlement since June 12. Futures lost 14 percent last quarter, the biggest decline in a year, and have slid 21 percent this year.

Japan’s currency weakened to 99.56 per dollar before a U.S. report today that will probably show manufacturing rebounded, adding to signs the Federal Reserve may begin to trim bond purchases. Japanese stocks rallied to a one-month high as data showed today big Japanese manufacturers turned optimistic for the first time since September 2011, indicating confidence in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reflationary policies.

“A weakening yen gave the largest support to futures,” Kazuhiko Saito, an analyst at broker Fujitomi Co. in Tokyo, said by phone today. Data showing a recovery in the U.S. and Japanese economies sapped investor appetite for the yen as a haven, he said.

Global rubber stockpiles will probably expand to 2.2 million tons by December, the highest level in more than a decade, as slower economic growth damps demand, according to The Rubber Economist.

Data showed today China’s manufacturing expanded at the slowest pace in four months in June, raising concerns demand may weaken from the world’s largest consumer, Saito said.

Rubber for January delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange added 2.2 percent to 18,130 yuan ($2,958) a ton. Thai rubber free-on-board gained 0.9 percent to 86.15 baht ($2.78) a kilogram June 28, according to the Rubber Research Institute of Thailand. Thai markets are closed today for holiday.

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