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TOCOM hits 1-week high as traders look for bargains on Oct.10

Benchmark Tokyo rubber futures rose to a one-week high on Wednesday as traders looked for bargains, but the session witnessed low activity as focus was on the newly listed technically specified rubber (TSR) contract, dealers said.

"Market participants, especially Thai producers, may be more interested in trading the new TSR futures now," said Jiong Gu, an analyst at Yutaka Shoji.

In early evening trade on Wednesday, considered a part of Thursday's trade, volume in TSR was twice that of RSS futures.

The Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) launched the new rubber futures on Tuesday as the bourse looks to return to profitability by expanding its product listings to compete with other Asian exchanges.

The TOCOM rubber contract for March delivery finished 0.7 yen higher at 172.7 yen (US$1.53) per kg, after reaching the highest since Oct 2 of 173.3 yen earlier in the session.

TOCOM's new TSR futures contract for April delivery fell 0.8% to close at 158.8 yen per kg, with a volume of 2,073 contracts, against the traditional ribbed smoked sheet (RSS) futures' 3,035 contracts.

"The RSS prices rose as they have lagged behind rubber futures in Shanghai and Singapore," Gu said.

TSR prices were dragged down by weaker Shanghai prices, he added.

The most-active rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for January delivery dropped 35 yuan to finish at 12,585 yuan (US$1,818) per tonne.

The front-month rubber contract on Singapore's SICOM exchange for November delivery last traded at 133.8 US cents per kg, down 0.8 cent.

The Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) is holding its annual conference in northern Thailand this week, according to the Rubber Authority of Thailand.

The Thai body told Reuters on Tuesday that there won't likely be any announcements during the meeting which covers more general topics of the industry. Price issues are expected to be discussed among the world's top exporters in the International Tripartite Rubber Council's (ITRC) next meeting to be held later this year in Malaysia, it said.

(US$1 = 113.1500 yen)

(US$1 = 6.9212 Chinese yuan renminbi)