Monday being a US holiday, and closed Chicago and New York
markets, is likely to mean somewhat slower trading among what agricultural commodity
contracts that are open for dealing.
Still, that did not mean that the day may lack any notable
Already – following on from a Friday which gave corn its
best close in Chicago in four months, wheat in one month and saw soybeans temporarily
touch a four-month high – this session has seen rubber hit it highest for, um, two weeks in Tokyo, at 235.40 yen a
The contract later eased back to 234.90 yen a kilogramme, up
0.6% on the day.
China stocks ease
The rise was helped by data showing a small fall, of 206 tonnes
to 207,452 tonnes, in the week to Friday in inventories of the tyre ingredient
in China, the top importing country.
This after strong imports last month, estimated at 23% by Chinese
The price increase defied weak data from Japan itself, where
data showed that Japan's economy expanded at an annual rate of 1% in the
October-to-December quarter, missing forecasts of 2.8% growth.
Still, as an extra fillip to futures - which two weeks ago
hit 210.00 yen a kilogramme, the lowest since August 2012 - the International
Rubber Consortium recommended that its members, in the big three producing
countries of Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, restrain selling.
"The last time the three members acted together was back in
2012-13, when they acted in tandem to reduce exports by 3% of global production
in 2012," said Phillip Futures.
The Singapore-based broker added that it was expecting rubber
prices "to be supported" this week.
"A drawdown in rubber stockpiles in China, coupled with
continued firm imports, would support rubber prices," Phillip Futures said
"However, gains could be limited by worries over weakness in
There have been persistent worries about the slowing down of
the Chinese economy which had taken a toll on rubber prices. But Japan's
economic growth is in question now."
Elsewhere in Asia, Kuala Lumpur palm oil has not managed to match Friday's intraday high of 2,688
ringgit a tonne, just 4 ringgit a tonne from matching a 17-month high.
But it was, up 0.5% at 2,677 ringgit a tonne at 09:30 UK
time (03:30 Chicago time), up 0.2% on the day, on course for a fifth successive
Prices have been supported by - besides concerns over
dryness damage to crops in Brazil, the top exporter of soybeans, the source of soyoil
– ideas of a strong recovery in Malaysian palm oil exports.
Shipments from the second-ranked exporting country soared 32%
in the first half of this month, according to Intertek, with data from rival
cargo surveyor Societe Generale de Surveillance due later.
Strength in the ringgit, potentially hampering furture
exports, plus data on Friday showing a sharp drop in Indian imports, from
1,067,709 tonnes in December to 905,814 tonnes last month, are keeping a lid on
Oilseed prices were not so upbeat on the Dalian market in China,
where soybeans for September fell
0.4% to 4,542 yuan a tonne for September, the best-traded contract.
Soymeal for May,
the best-traded lot for the feed ingredient, closed 0.2% lower at 3,432 yuan a
The decline followed estimates from China's CNGOIC crop
bureau that the country, the top soybean importer, will ship in more than 5m
tonnes of the oilseed this month, up from 2.89m tonnes in February last year,
and implying easier supplies of the crop.
Rains dampen sorghum
In the grain markets, wheat
for March closed unchanged at Aus$307.00 a tonne in Sydney.
But sorghum for March dropped 2.0% to Aus$325.30 a tonne, a
one-month low, undermined by rains which have boosted prospects for the next
harvest, which officials last week warned could fall sharply this season
because of a lack of rainfall in the core east coast growing areas.
"Between 10mm-40mm of rain was recorded throughout much of New
South Wales over the weekend," Luke Mathews at Commonwealth Bank of Australia
"Follow-up rainfall is forecast throughout Queensland and
northern New South Wales this week," with the former potentially receiving up
to 150mm according to the latest eight-day outlook from Australia's Bureau of