TOKYO, June 6 (Reuters) -
* Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) futures surged on Thursday, touching three-month highs, as foreign funds stepped up buying and helped by a rally in Shanghai futures as well as physical prices in Thailand amid supply tightness.
* The benchmark TOCOM rubber contract for November delivery finished 7.0 yen, or 3.6%, higher at 202.0 yen ($1.87) per kg. It hit the highest since March 7 and marked the biggest one-day gain since May 16.
* “Foreign funds have been increasing their long positions in the TOCOM for the past few days, suggesting a start of bull market,” said Hideshi Matsunaga, an analyst at Sunward Trading.
* “Behind the jump was also a long rally in physical prices in Thailand due to dry weather last month and the country’s push to ramp up domestic use of rubber,” he added.
* The most-active rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for September delivery soared 210 yuan to finish at 12,235 yuan ($1,770) per tonne.
* The price of Thailand’s benchmark smoked rubber sheet (RSS3) touched its highest in 21 months on Thursday. Its export-grade rubber sheet RUB-RSS3C-BKK was quoted at $1.96 per kilogram on a free-on-board (FOB) basis, the highest since September 2017, according to Refinitiv data.
* China said on Thursday it is stopping local governments from imposing new restrictions on car purchases and cancelling existing ones that apply to new energy vehicles, as it looks to spur consumption amid a slowing economy.
* Fiat Chrysler said it abandoned its $35 billion merger offer for Renault, blaming French politics for scuttling what would have been a landmark deal to create the world’s third-biggest automaker.
* U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to hit China with tariffs on “at least” another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods but said he thought both China and Mexico wanted to make deals in their trade disputes with the United States.
* Oil prices firmed on Thursday after falling to near five-month lows in the previous session, but sentiment remained weak as markets remain under pressure from rising U.S. supply and a stalling global economy.
* Japan’s benchmark Nikkei stock average ended flat in choppy trade with investor sentiment hit by concerns about the U.S. trade war with Mexico and China, which shifted support toward firms with strong domestic exposure away from those reliant on overseas trade.
* TOCOM’s technically specified rubber (TSR) 20 futures contract for December delivery closed up 1.1% at 164.7 yen per kg.
* The front-month rubber contract on Singapore’s SICOM exchange for July delivery last traded at 154.8 U.S. cents per kg, up 1.7%. ($1 = 108.1300 yen) ($1 = 6.9124 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)