Rubber Declines as U.S. Home Sales, Chinese Purchases Decrease

Rubber fell after a drop in pending home sales in the U.S. outweighed an advance in durable-goods orders and as China, the biggest buyer, slowed imports before the Lunar New Year holidays next month.

The contract for delivery in June, the most-active by open interest, dropped 0.3 percent to close at 309.4 yen a kilogram ($3,418 a metric ton) on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange. Futures for delivery in July, listed on the bourse yesterday, settled at 312.6 yen.

U.S. pending home sales declined in December for the first time since August, the National Association of Realtors reported yesterday. A separate report showed durable-goods orders rose in December for an unprecedented fourth consecutive month. Buyers in China have slowed imports before the holidays, according to the Rubber Research Institute of Thailand.

“Purchases will continue to be sluggish ahead of the Chinese New Year,” Sureerat Kunthongjun, an analyst at AGROW Enterprise Ltd., said by phone from Bangkok. The week-long holidays will start Feb. 11.

Natural-rubber inventories dropped 3,323 tons to 98,007 tons on Jan. 24, a second week of decline, the Shanghai Futures Exchange said Jan. 25. Stockpiles totaled 101,482 tons on Jan. 10, the highest since March 2010.

Rubber for May delivery gained 1.4 percent to close at 25,955 yuan ($4,169) a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange.

Thai rubber free-on-board lost 0.8 percent to 96.85 baht ($3.24) a kilogram today, said the Rubber Research Institute.

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