Rubber Reaches 16-Month Low as China Manufacturing Slows

Rubber fell to the lowest level since September 2012 after data showed Chinese manufacturing dropped to a six-month low, adding to concerns that demand may weaken from the largest consumer.

Futures for delivery in July lost as much as 1.9 percent to 223.1 yen a kilogram ($2,181 a metric ton) on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, the lowest intraday price for a most-active contract in 16 months. Rubber settled at 226.9 yen, extending its slump to 17 percent this year after entering a bear market last week.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index was at 50.5 last month, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said on Feb. 1, declining from December’s 51 reading. The survey showed jobs and export orders in the world’s second-biggest economy shrinking, amplifying risks of a deeper slowdown. A non-manufacturing gauge fell to 53.4 from 54.6, data showed today.

“A drop in the Chinese data accelerated the selling,” said Naohiro Niimura, a partner at Market Risk Advisory Co., a research company in Tokyo. “Concerns that growth will slow in emerging economies weigh on sentiment.”

The contract for May delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange retreated 1 percent to close at 15,480 yuan ($2,554) a ton on Jan. 30. Markets in China are closed through Feb. 6 for Lunar New Year holidays. Stockpiles monitored by the bourse expanded 1.6 percent to 207,658 tons last week, the largest amount since October 2004, exchange data showed.

Rubber free-on-board at Songkhla, Thailand, fell 0.7 percent to 70.75 baht ($2.15) a kilogram today, according to the Rubber Research Institute of Thailand.

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