* SIR20 sold to Bridgestone at $1.66-$1.675/kg
* SMR20 reported done at $1.66 CIF China
* Thai sellers reluctant to make offers
By Lewa Pardomuan
SINGAPORE, June 6 Top tyre maker Bridgestone
Corp chased Indonesian rubber this week for nearby
delivery, dealers said on Friday, but falling prices kept other
sellers out of the market.
Singapore's tyre grade prices were trading near their
lowest in almost five years because of weakness in Tokyo rubber
futures, pressure from global oversupply and persistent
worries about economic growth in top consumer China.
A decision by Thailand's military government to suspend a
plan to sell 200,000 tonnes of rubber from stocks has done
little to support Tokyo's benchmark prices, which have plunged
nearly 30 percent this year.
Indonesia's SIR20 grade was sold to Bridgestone at $1.66 to
$1.675 a kg for June delivery, free-on-board (FOB), in a series
of overnight deals, down from $1.69 last week. Sellers in top
producer Thailand were reluctant to offer rubber.
Thai RSS3 was quoted at $2.02 a kg for nearby delivery, down
from as high as $2.15 last week, with no reports of deals.
Another grade, STR20, was offered at around $1.70 a kg, down
from $1.80 last week.
"We didn't hear much activity for both grades. There are not
many sellers around because the cost to process rubber is much
higher than the offer prices," said a dealer in Thailand.
"The estimated cost of production for STR20 is about $1.80.
Chinese buyers are making some inquiries as usual, but the price
they are willing to pay is extremely low," the dealer said.
Malaysia's SMR20 was quoted at $1.67 to $1.70 a kg, down
from up to $1.78 last week. One Kuala Lumpur-based dealer said
the grade sold at $1.66 a kg, including freight to China.
Rubber inventory in China has dropped in recent weeks to
below 160,000 tonnes, but stocks in the bonded warehouses remain
high at around 360,000 tonnes, according to dealers' estimates.
The high rubber inventory in Qingdao suggests speculators
are still using the commodity as collateral for financing.
Global trading houses and banks have been scrambling this
week to check on their exposure to a probe on commodity
financing by Chinese authorities, as worries grow that any
crackdown on the practice could hit trade in the world's largest
buyer of many commodities.
Tyre grade prices are likely to fall again next week as
consumers wait for bargains.
(Editing by Tom Hogue)