Asia Rubber-Tyre makers strike deals; TOCOM drags down prices
* Bridgestone buys Thai RSS3 at $2.49/kg
* SIR20 sold at 103.00 and 103.50 cents/lb
* Trade discounts talk on China's purchases
By Lewa Pardomuan
SINGAPORE, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Tyre makers bought some Thai rubber for January shipment and other grades were also sold among trading houses this week, but weakness in Tokyo futures weighed on prices, dealers said on Wednesday.
Benchmark rubber futures on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) set the tone for tyre grades, but the contracts are often influenced by macroeconomics, currencies, equities and even the price of crude oil.
The most active contract, currently May, fell on Wednesday to a 2-week low of 256.6 yen a kg, tracking declines in the Nikkei and other financial markets. The sixth-month contract has fallen more than 14 percent this year.
Bridgestone the world's largest tyre maker, bought Thai RSS3 at $2.49 a kg for January delivery. The grade was also sold among trading houses and other tyre makers at $2.48 without freight late on Tuesday, down from as high as $2.51 last week.
"Bridgestone has been in the market occasionally, but I am not chasing them," said a dealer in Thailand.
"The quantity is also not much. It's just normal buying. The STR20 market is very quiet. China is avoiding the market apparently. There are offers at $2.40, but I don't think anybody is buying."
Thai STR20 rubber was sold to main consumer China at $2.37 and $2.38 a kg, including freight, last week. Dealers have discounted talk that China may buy more rubber for state reserves after buying 54,000 tonnes of RSS grade in late October.
Indonesia's SIR20 rubber was sold to dealers in Singapore at 103 and 103.50 U.S. cents a pound ($2.27 and $2.28 a kg) for January delivery, down from 104 and 104.50 cents last week.
Bridgestone, which last week bought SIR20 at 104.00 and 104.75 cents for January and March respectively, was absent. Malaysia's SMR20 was traded to unspecified buyers at $2.36 and $2.37 a kg, down from $2.40 last week.
Dealers expect tyre grades to track movements in the Tokyo market next week.