TOKYO, July 12 (Reuters) – Key TOCOM rubber futures rose almost 1 percent on Thursday, regaining ground after shedding more than 4 percent over the last three sessions, but concerns about slowing rubber demand in the world’s top consumer China may keep a lid on gains.
* The key Tokyo Commodity Exchange rubber contract for December delivery <0#2JRU:> was changing hands 1.7 yen higher at 246.1 yen as of 0100 GMT. The benchmark contract fell as low as 244.0 yen, near a nine-day intraday low hit on Wednesday.
* China bought several cargoes of tyre grades for nearby shipment, but concerns about an economic slowdown in the world’s largest rubber consumer resurfaced after import growth faltered last month, dealers said on Wednesday.
* China’s annual import growth of 6.3 percent in June fell far short of the 12.7 percent forecast by economists and the 12.7 percent figure of May, indicating both a drop-off in domestic demand and the running down of inventories by exporters worried about the weakness of new order growth.
* The Dow and the Nasdaq lost ground on Wednesday as minutes from the Federal Reserve’s June meeting showed policymakers are open to the idea of more economic stimulus, but that conditions might need to worsen first.
* The dollar gained on Wednesday, pushing the euro to a fresh two-year low after the minutes of last month’s Fed meeting.
* U.S. crude futures extended gains on Thursday from a 2 percent rally a day earlier, supported by hopes that economic stimulus may yet be forthcoming from the U.S. Federal Reserve to bolster the world’s biggest oil consumer.
* Japan’s Nikkei share average was flat at Thursday’s open, with investors awaiting the outcome of a Bank of Japan policy meeting. The central bank is expected to hold off on further policy easing despite slowing global growth.
* The following data is expected on Thursday (GMT)
0530 India Industrial Output yy Jul
0900 EZ Industrial production yy May
1230 U.S. Jobless claims Weekly
1230 U.S. Export prices Jun
1230 U.S. Import prices Jun
1430 U.S. EIA natural gas stocks Weekly
1800 U.S. Federal budget Jun (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
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