TOKYO, Aug 10 (Reuters) – Tokyo rubber futures edged down on Friday, marking the fifth straight week of decline after falling to their lowest levels since October 2009 earlier in the week, amid investor concerns about slowing demand from China.
Data showed China’s natural rubber imports rose about 30 percent last month from a year earlier. But overall trade and new bank lending data suggested Beijing’s pro-growth policies have been slow to gain traction.
Thursday’s industry data also showed demand for automobiles in China, the world’s biggest rubber user, slowed further in July from the previous two months.
“Renewed concerns about slowing growth in China pulled down regional stock markets, offsetting what initially looked like good news of trade data showing a 30-percent jump in natural rubber imports last month,” said Toshitaka Tazawa, an analyst at commodity trading house Fujitomi.
The most-active Tokyo Commodity Exchange rubber contract for January delivery settled down 0.3 yen at 218.9 yen per kg. It lost 3.3 percent on the week. On Thursday, it fell as low as 215.7 yen.
Supply in Thailand, the world’s biggest rubber producer, has been picking up smoothly in the last couple of months since farmers resumed tapping after the end of dry season, another factor putting a downward pressure on prices.
Among other markets, the most-active rubber contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange for January delivery was down 40 yuan at 22,300 yuan per tonne.
The front-month September rubber contract on Singapore’s SICOM exchange was last traded at 256.6 U.S. cents per kg, down 2.6 cents. (Reporting by Risa Maeda;Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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