TOCOM rebounds on softer yen, but headed for weekly loss

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TOKYO (Dec 12): Benchmark TOCOM rubber futures rebounded on Friday helped by the yen's fall against the U.S. dollar after strong U.S. retail sales data, but the contract was still headed for the biggest weekly loss in two months amid worries about oversupply.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The Tokyo Commodity Exchange rubber contract for May delivery rose 0.7 yen to 191.7 yen per kg by 0040 GMT, after falling to a fresh seven-week low on Thursday on the yen's rise and weaker oil prices.

At the current level, the contract was poised for a weekly decline of about 3 percent, the biggest drop since the week to Oct 3.

* U.S. retail sales data showed consumer spending advanced at a brisk clip in November as lower gasoline prices gave holiday shopping a boost and offered the latest sign the American economy is still gathering momentum.

* Rubber farmers in two of Asia's biggest producing-nations held back stocks this week as prices dropped close to five-year lows, with many producers in Thailand pressing the government to shore up prices while those in Indonesia cut back on work shifts.

MARKET NEWS

* The U.S. dollar climbed as high as 119.55 yen, bouncing off a two-week low of 117.44, after a closely watched report showed U.S. retail sales rose a forecast-beating 0.7 percent in November. It has since drifted back to 118.92.

* Japan's benchmark Nikkei stock average rose 0.7 percent in Friday trade, after most global equity markets on Thursday snapped three days of losses after strong U.S. retail sales and declining jobless claims signalled the U.S. economy could weather weak oil prices.

* U.S. crude fell below $60 a barrel on Thursday for the first time in five years, breaking through a key psychological support level that triggered fresh selling as some traders said they saw no reason for a rebound any time soon.