RUBBER-Tokyo futures near 3-week high as Washington deal nears


TOKYO, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Key TOCOM rubber futures rose morethan 2 percent to a near three-week high on Thursday as the U.S.closed in on a deal to end the budget impasse that has cast ashadow over the global economy.


* The key Tokyo Commodity Exchange rubber contract for Marchdelivery was changing hands 5.4 yen higher at275.3 yen as of 0024 GMT, after falling 0.9 yen the day before.The benchmark earlier climbed to its highest since Sept. 27 at276.0 yen.

* The U.S. Senate approved a deal on Wednesday to end thepolitical crisis that partially shut down the federal governmentand brought the world's biggest economy to the edge of a debtdefault that could have threatened financial calamity.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives wasexpected to take up the measure later on Wednesday after SpeakerJohn Boehner dropped the party's efforts to link the spendingmeasure to changes in President Barack Obama's healthcare law.

* A weaker yen also helped raise TOCOM prices as it makesyen-denominated assets more affordable when purchased in othercurrencies.

The dollar rose 0.2 percent against the yen to 98.96, afterearlier matching a peak of 98.97 yen hit on Wednesday. That wasits highest since Sept 27.

* Thai rubber prices tracked benchmark Tokyo futures higherthis week, while a drop in China's inventory raised hopes ofmore purchases from the world's largest consumer, dealers said.

* Bridgestone Corp, the world's largest tyre maker,bought some cargoes on Wednesday for delivery next year, while adrop in China's inventory raised hopes of more purchases fromthe top consumer, dealers said.

* For the top stories in rubber market and other news, click, or


* U.S. stocks closed more than 1 percent higher onWednesday, while crude oil futures also rose.

* Japan's benchmark Nikkei average opened up 1.20percent at 14,640.08 on Thursday and the broader Topix gained 1.08 percent to 1,209.65.


* The following data is expected on Thursday: (Time in GMT)

- 0200 China foreign direct investment

- 0800 Euro zone current account

- 1230 U.S. weekly jobless claims

- 1400 U.S. Philadelphia business activity (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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