The rubber contract for delivery in June on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange lost 5.1 percent to 229.3 yen a kilogram ($2,234 a metric ton), the lowest settlement for a most-active contract since June 26. It was the biggest daily loss since May 23. Prices have fallen for six weeks, the longest losing streak since October 2008, to the cusp of a bear market.
“Concerns about growth in China and other emerging economies deepened, raising speculation that raw material demand may weaken,” said Takaki Shigemoto, an analyst at JSC Corp., a research company in Tokyo.
The HSBC China Purchasing Managers’ Index, weighed down by weaker domestic and export demand, fell to 49.6 in January from December’s final reading of 50.5. It was also reported that Chinese investors had started to pull out of the market ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays, which would begin late next week.
Growth in China, the second-largest economy, will decelerate to 7.5 percent this year and 7.3 percent in 2015 from 7.7 percent in 2013, the International Monetary Fund forecasts. Stockpiles monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange increased 5.6 percent to 200,815 tons, the largest since October 2004, data from the bourse showed on Jan. 17. It was the seventh straight week of gains.
“Rising inventories in China added to speculation that the rubber market is oversupplied,” said Masayo Kondo, the president of Commodity Intelligence Ltd., a Tokyo-based research company. “Rubber futures will remain under pressure with attention on Chinese demand.”