TOKYO, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Benchmark TOCOM rubber futuresheld steady on Thursday as traders caught their breath after asteep run-up in prices early in the week pushed the contract toa three-month high before easing as investors took profits.
* The key Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) rubber contractfor February delivery was unchanged at 281.4yen per kg at 0040 GMT, after settling 2.9 yen lower onWednesday.
The contract hit 287.9 yen during trade on Wednesday, itshighest level since May 23, driven up by a weaker yen. Thecontract is currently 4.6 percent higher for the week.
* The Bank of Japan is expected to keep monetary policysteady on Thursday and renew its call for the government toproceed with a planned sales tax hike, encouraged by growingsigns the economy is improving.
* U.S. vehicle sales rose 17 percent in August to aseasonally adjusted annual rate of 16.1 million units, markingthe fastest pace since October 2007 and above the 15.8million-unit rate analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected.
* For the top stories in rubber market and other news, click or
* The U.S. dollar was quoted around 99.70 yen inearly Asian trade, with the greenback up slightly, but investorsbooking profits on recent gains limited the rise.
* Japan's benchmark Nikkei stock average dipped 0.1percent in early Thursday trade, as investors locked in profitsafter the recent run up in equities prices.
* The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index closed 0.8 percent lower on Wednesday in part as oiland gold prices dropped on uncertainties about the timing of aU.S. military strike on Syria.
* The following data is expected on Thursday: (Time in GMT)
1100 Britain BOE Bank Rate Sept
1145 EZ ECB refinancing rate Sept
ISM N-Mfg PMI Dec
ISM N-Mfg Bus Act Dec
Nat gas-EIA, change bcf
EIA weekly crude stocks
EIA weekly dist. stocks
EIA weekly gasoline stk (Reporting by James Topham; Editing by Richard Pullin)
- Tokyo Commodity Exchange