TOKYO, July 6 (Reuters) – Key TOCOM rubber futures firmed on Friday after stimulus measures taken by three major central banks, while prices were on track for their biggest weekly gain in more than five months.
Most of this week’s gain in rubber prices came in the first three days when it rose almost 7 percent, driven by optimism stemming from Europe’s moves to tackle the region’s debt crisis.
* The key Tokyo Commodity Exchange rubber contract for December delivery <0#2JRU:> stood at 257.3 yen per kg at 0043 GMT, up 2.5 yen, or 1 percent, from the previous close.
* It hit a one-month high at 259.6 yen on Wednesday. Prices are headed for a more than 7 percent gain this week, its biggest weekly rise since January.
* The TOCOM market last week touched a 2-1/2 year low of 227.8 yen amid concerns about demand in China and Europe.
* The European Central Bank on Thursday trimmed its main refinancing rate by a quarter point, widely expected by investors, but declined to resume a bond-buying programme or release fresh liquidity to banks.
* China on Thursday surprised markets with a rate cut, fuelling hopes of stronger demand for commodities in the world’s top consumer of raw materials.
* China, the world’s biggest rubber consumer, has returned to the physical market after a short break due to easing prices, while major tyremakers are buying in small lots ahead of a seasonal drop in supply, traders said.
* Markets are now waiting for the important U.S. nonfarm payrolls data to gauge the health of the world’s largest economy. Analysts expect the U.S. economy added 90,000 jobs last month, a level that won’t make much of a dent in the grim unemployment situation.
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* U.S. stocks edged down on Thursday as economic stimulus measures by major central banks failed to excite investors before a U.S. jobs report expected to show tepid growth.
* Japan’s Nikkei share average was almost flat in early trade on Friday.
* U.S. crude fell as weak data from top oil consumer United States countered stimulus measures taken by three major central banks, while focus stayed pinned to the key nonfarm payrolls number that should yield fresh trading cues.
* The following data is expected on Friday:
1000 Germany Industrial output mm May 2012
1230 U.S. Non-farm payrolls June
1430 U.S. EIA natural gas stocks Weekly
(Reporting by Risa Maeda; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
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