Rubber Climbs to 1-Week High as Recovery Raises Demand Optimism

Rubber advanced to the highest level in more than a week after data added to signs of a U.S. economic recovery, increasing speculation that demand will expand for the commodity used to make tires.

The contract for delivery in July rose 1.1 percent to 315.9 yen a kilogram ($3,476 a metric ton) on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, the highest settlement for the most-active contract since Jan. 18. Prices have advanced 4.4 percent this month.

Data showed home prices in 20 U.S. cities rose the most in more than six years. A report Feb. 1 may show U.S. employers added 160,000 workers in January after a 155,000 December gain, according to the median of 67 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey. Oil in New York traded near a four-month high, raising the appeal of natural rubber as an alternative to synthetics.

“Investor confidence in global economic recovery increased, leading to purchases of industrial commodities including rubber,” Kazuhiko Saito, an analyst at broker Fujitomi Co. in Tokyo, said by phone today.

West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery was at $97.50 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures closed at $97.57 yesterday, the highest level since Sept. 14.

Federal Reserve policy makers started a two-day meeting yesterday to discuss continuing asset purchases to boost growth. The bank is buying as much as $85 billion of securities each month to stoke the economy and reduce joblessness.

Rubber for May delivery gained 0.9 percent to 26,180 yuan ($4,209) a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange. Thai rubber free-on-board was unchanged at 96.85 baht ($3.25) a kilogram today, according to the country’s rubber research institute.

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