* Bridgestone chases Indonesian grade; RSS reported traded
* Prices higher after rally in TOCOM
* Market ignores anti-government protests in Thailand
By Lewa Pardomuan
SINGAPORE, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Bridgestone Corp, the world’s largest tyre maker, bought Indonesian rubber for nearby delivery while other grades were also traded at higher prices this week following a rally in benchmark Tokyo futures, dealers said on Wednesday.
Anti-government protests in main producer Thailand have had no impact on rubber trading so far, and dealers showed little interest in a call by a group of Indonesian exporters to cut output next year to support prices.
Indonesia’s SIR20 was sold to Bridgestone at 105.25 U.S. cents a pound ($2.32 a kg) late on Tuesday. Last week, the grade was sold to unspecified buyers at 103 and 103.50 U.S. cents a pound.
Thai RSS3 was reported sold to Bridgestone at $2.54 a kg for February delivery, higher than $2.49 last week. Another Thai grade, STR20, was offered at $2.40 a kg, unchanged from last week, and with no reports of deals.
“I have to say the Thai grades are not so active, but there are bits and pieces of deals. I heard that Bridgestone bought some quantity of RSS, but I can’t verify it,” said a dealer in Thailand.
“I haven’t heard of any disruptions in trading activity because of the protests.”
Protesters in Thailand trying to bring down the government rallied at national police headquarters on Wednesday and their leader said the fight would go on despite efforts to defuse the crisis.
Thailand’s military, which has staged or attempted 18 coups in the past 80 years, has kept its distance from the latest turmoil and the navy chief said on Wednesday he and his top armed forces colleagues had ruled out intervening as the situation was returning to normal.
Rubber futures on Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM), which set the tone for physical prices, shrugged off the violent protests. The most active May contract rallied to its highest in more than two months this week due to encouraging economic data from main consumer China.
The May contract added 1.1 yen a kg to 275 yen, within sight of Monday’s peak of 276.8 yen.
“Some Chinese friends just told me recently that China will stockpile rubber again. But I guess this is only hearsay,” said a dealer in Singapore, who trades Indonesia and Malaysian grades.
Malaysia’s SMR20 was traded at $2.43 a kg for February delivery, higher than $2.36 and $2.37 a kg last week.
Many dealers have discounted talk that China may buy more rubber for state reserves after buying 54,000 tonnes of RSS grade in late October.
Dealers expect tyre grades to track movements in Tokyo futures next week.