TOKYO, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Benchmark TOCOM rubber futures rose to a more than three-month high early on Wednesday as a weaker yen continued to bolster the contract that sets the tone for Southeast Asia tyre grade prices.
* The key Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) rubber contract for February delivery <0#2JRU:> was up 0.9 percent at 286.9 yen per kg at 0034 GMT, its highest level since May 23. The futures contract settled 2.1 percent higher on Tuesday.
* The U.S. dollar was quoted around 96.55 yen in early Asian trade, with the greenback higher after stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data lifted expectations the U.S. central bank will start scaling back stimulus this month.
* Japan's central bank will consider further monetary easing if the country decides to raise its sales tax as planned to 8 percent from 5 percent in April, a local newspaper reported on Wednesday.
* Top rubber consumer China bought nearby physical cargoes this week to replenish stockpiles, with protests by Thai farmers barely causing a ripple in physical trading, dealers said late on Tuesday.
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* Japan's benchmark Nikkei stock average dipped 0.6 percent in early Wednesday trade, as investors took profits after the benchmark closed near a three-week high the previous day.
* The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index rose 0.6 percent on Tuesday after 11 of the 19 futures markets it tracked ended in positive territory.
* The following data is expected on Wednesday: (Time in GMT)
- 0130 GMT Australia GDP yy Apr
- 0400 GMT U.S. Total vehicle sales Dec
- 0758 GMT EZ Markit Services PMI Aug
- 0930 GMT India M3 money supply
- 1145 GMT U.S. ICSC chain stores yy Weekly
- 1230 GMT U.S. International trade mm $ Dec
- 2030 GMT U.S. API weekly crude stocks Weekly
- 2030 GMT U.S. API weekly dist. stocks Weekly
- 2030 GMT U.S. API weekly gasoline stk Weekly (Reporting by James Topham; Editing by Richard Pullin)