TOKYO, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Key TOCOM rubber futures rose fora second day on Wednesday after stocks of imported rubber inChina's bonded warehouses fell, pointing to increased demand inthe world's biggest rubber consumer.
* The key Tokyo Commodity Exchange rubber contract forFebruary delivery was 2.1 yen higher at 275.5yen as of 0057 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.5 percent on Tuesday,gaining for the first time in three days.
* Inventories of imported rubber in China's bondedwarehouses have slipped 4 percent since the end of August,dealers said on Tuesday, reflecting increased demand from localtyre makers and optimism about the economy.
* Protesters blocked a highway in southern Thailand for asecond day on Tuesday in a bid to force the government toincrease a subsidy for rubber farmers, even though a curfew wasimposed in the area after clashes with riot police on Monday.
* China has renewed private-buyer subsidies for "new energy"or electric-powered vehicles for another three years, in part tofight air pollution, but contrary to some expectations did notinclude gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles.
* The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to begin its longretreat from ultra-easy monetary policy on Wednesday byannouncing a small reduction in its bond buying, while stressingthat interest rates will remain near zero for a long time tocome.
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* The U.S. dollar held near a four-week trough against abasket of major currencies in early Asian trade on Wednesday asinvestors bet that any move by the U.S. Federal Reserve to rollback stimulus will be very modest. The dollar was quoted around99.20 yen by 0055 GMT.
* Japan's Nikkei share average rose about 1.6percent in early trade on Wednesday as investors braced for aU.S. Fed's meeting at which it is expected to start winding downits massive stimulus spending.
* Brent crude oil prices settled at a six-week low onTuesday as major world powers met to draft a resolution todestroy Syria's cache of chemical weapons, calming investorfears of an imminent U.S. military response. The resumption ofsome Libyan output also pressured prices.
* The following data is expected on Wednesday: (Time in GMT)
- 1230 U.S.
- 1230 U.S.
- 1800 Federal Open Market Committee ends policy meeting
- 1830 Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke holds news briefing (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Richard Pullin)
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