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

TOKYO, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Key TOCOM rubber futures rose more than 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 a shadow over the global economy.


* The key Tokyo Commodity Exchange rubber contract for March delivery <0#2JRU:> was changing hands 5.4 yen higher at 275.3 yen as of 0024 GMT, after falling 0.9 yen the day before. The benchmark earlier climbed to its highest since Sept. 27 at 276.0 yen.

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

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives was expected to take up the measure later on Wednesday after Speaker John Boehner dropped the party's efforts to link the spending measure to changes in President Barack Obama's healthcare law.

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

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

* Thai rubber prices tracked benchmark Tokyo futures higher this week, while a drop in China's inventory raised hopes of more 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 a drop in China's inventory raised hopes of more purchases from the top consumer, dealers said.

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

* Japan's benchmark Nikkei average opened up 1.20 percent 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)