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Rubber Gains to One-Week High as Yen Drops, U.S. Auto Sales Grow

Aug. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Rubber climbed to a one-week high as a weaker Japanese currency boosted the appeal of yen-denominated futures and expanding U.S. auto sales raised outlook for demand of the commodity used to make tires.

The contract for delivery in January gained 0.9 percent to end at 248.1 yen a kilogram ($2,489 a metric ton) on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, the highest settlement since July 26. Futures dropped 0.9 percent this week.

Japan’s currency traded near a one-week low against the dollar after dropping 1.7 percent yesterday on data showing the recovery of the world’s largest economy. U.S. car and light-truck sales climbed 14 percent to 1.32 million in July, according to researcher Autodata Corp.

“Rubber drew support from the currency market and strong car sales in the U.S.,” said Kazuhiko Saito, an analyst at broker Fujitomi Co. in Tokyo.

The industry’s sales pace for the month keeps the U.S. on track for its best year since 16.1 million vehicles were sold in 2007. Economic reports yesterday showed that factory output from the U.S. to China and Europe expanded in July, while American jobless claims fell to a five-year low.

Rubber for January delivery dropped 0.6 percent to close at 18,005 yuan ($2,936) a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange. Thai rubber free-on-board added 0.6 percent to 77.25 baht ($2.46) a kilogram today, according to the Rubber Research Institute of Thailand. Rains spread across the country’s south, disrupting tapping in the main plantation area, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aya Takada in Tokyo at atakada2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jarrett Banks at jbanks15@bloomberg.net

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