Asia Softs-Tokyo rubber may test resistance, sugar premiums hardly move

Reuters

* Tokyo rubber seen in 254-270 yen/kg range

* Sugar premiums seen stuck in 70-80 points range

* New harvest in Vietnam; cocoa butter ratios seen firm

By Lewa Pardomuan

SINGAPORE, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Bargain hunting and talk thatChina is building up rubber stockpiles again could push Tokyofutures up to resistance levels this week, while Thai sugarpremiums may stay in their recent range as the crushing seasonapproaches, dealers said on Monday.

The trend in other soft commodities may be dictated bydemand prospects, with roasters expected to wait for robustapremiums to slip due to an abundant crop in top producerVietnam. Cocoa butter premiums, however, could stay at theirhighest in five years.

The most active March rubber contract on the Tokyo CommodityExchange rose about 1.3 percent to a high of 257.50 yena kg after losing nearly 6 percent in thin trade last week asmarkets in China were closed for a holiday. Trading resumesthere on Tuesday.

Key support was pegged at 254 yen a kg and resistance at 270yen. The Tokyo market, which sets the tone for tyre-gradeprices, often tracks movements in equities and currencies.

"Tokyo rubber has gone down too much. I think it may go backto 265 yen today or tomorrow," said Gu Jiong, an analyst atYutaka Shoji Co in Tokyo.

"I've heard the (Chinese) government may buy a total of200,000 tonnes of rubber; 150,000 will be from the local marketand 50,000 tonnes from the foreign market. It may support theprice."

Last year, China announced it would buy up to 200,000 tonnesof rubber from the domestic market to support prices but dealerssaid only a fraction was purchased by the end of 2012.

In the sugar market, Thai high polarisation, or hipol, rawswere unchanged at 70 to 80 points over New York futures eventhough the sweetener was sold at higher premiums at a governmenttender last week.

The state-run Thai Cane and Sugar Corp (TCSC) sold 122,000tonnes of raw sugar from the 2013/14 crop to internationaltrading houses at premiums ranging from 88 to 105 points.

This week's early indications suggest buyers are waiting forlower differentials as fresh supply from Thailand is expected toenter the physical market in the next few weeks.

"There is no change in premiums despite the higher levelsshown in last week's tender," said a dealer in Bangkok.

Thai sugar production is forecast to reach 11 milliontonnes in 2013/14, raising the prospect of higher exports. The2013/14 crushing season is due to start on Nov. 15 and will rununtil late April.

COCOA, COFFEE

Cocoa butter, a key ingredient of chocolate, could stayaround the highest ratios since 2008 this week as chocolatemakers chase cargoes for delivery this year.

Jean-Marc Anga, executive director of the InternationalCocoa Organization, told Reuters on Monday the global cocoamarket would be in deficit for the next four years, underscoringthe impact of rising consumption in Asia and supply problems.

In the coffee market, premiums for Vietnamese robustas coulddrop from last week's levels of $10 to $20 to London futures asdealers expect more offers.

The new season in Vietnam started this month and the 2013/14crop could hit a record 25 million 60-kg bags in the period toSeptember 2014, a Reuters poll showed. (Editing by Alan Raybould)

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