Oil Report

Tokyo rubber dips, continues to eye 300-yen level

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TOKYO, April 30 (Reuters) - Tokyo rubber futures briefly fell more than 1 percent on Wednesday as part of a broad decline in commodities including gold, although prices continued to hover close to the key 300-yen level.

* The benchmark Tokyo Commodity Exchange rubber contract for October delivery <0#JRU:> closed the morning down 2.4 yen, or about 0.8 percent, at 297.8 yen per kg after earlier hitting a trough of 296.5 yen, down 1.2 percent.

* It topped 300 yen for the first time in seven weeks on Monday. The market was closed on Tuesday for a national holiday.

* Traders believe TOCOM rubber will remain strong for the time being as part of the global strength in commodities.

* “It did manage to rise above 300 yen, and the question now is whether it wil be able to consolidate and hang on to that key level,” a Tokyo trader said.

* The benchmark is currently trading midway between the year’s low of 266.1 yen marked on March 21 and the high of 324.3 yen hit on Feb. 26.

* The benchmark April TOCOM gold contract <0#JAU:> has so far fallen as low as 2,946 yen per gram, down 75 yen or 2.5 percent from Monday’s close, taking its cue from spot gold’s decline to a three-month low of $868.20 an ounce on Tuesday.

* U.S. crude oil futures fell on Wednesday ahead of U.S. government data that is expected to show a slight rise in crude inventories. Prices have retreated further from an all-time high of $119.93 hit on Monday.

* Frontmonth U.S. crude for June delivery CLc1 was down 12 cents at $115.51 a barrel on the Globex electronic trading platform, after settling down $3.12 on Tuesday.

* The dollar was little changed on Wednesday, with investors bracing for an expected Federal Reserve interest rate cut and a policy statement that is widely expected to indicate the central bank may pause its aggressive run of rate slashes.

* The dollar barely budged from late U.S. trade at 104.05 yen JPY=.

* Thai rubber prices are seen between $2.70 and $2.90 a kg for the rest of the year, about 22 percent higher than last year’s average price, as India and China are likely to raise imports, a leading industry official said on Tuesday. [ID:nBKK257313]

* Physical rubber prices have mostly been firm due to tight supplies at the major producers, including top producer Thailand, because unseasonal rains have disrupted tapping. (Reporting by Miho Yoshikawa; Editing by Chris Gallagher)