Geneva, Switzerland - The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has issued new international standards for the determination of biomass-based (biobased) content of rubber and rubber products based on a proposal filed by Japan. ISO 19984-2:2017 specifies measuring methods for the determination of biobased carbon contents in rubber and rubber products, including polyurethanes. The methods focus on carbon atoms in rubber or rubber products, and determine whether the carbon-containing component is biobased or not judging from the concentration of 14C, radiocarbon isotope. ISO 19984-2:2017 applies to rubber and rubber products such as raw materials, materials and final products. Source: rubber world (25/09/2017)

KUALA LUMPUR — The Malaysian rubber market is likely to continue seeing quiet trading next week, amid a lack of fresh leads and with most traders watching closely the movement of the rubber futures on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM), a dealer said. TOCOM, which normally governs the direction of Malaysian rubber, eased 0.9 per cent for February 2018 delivery at 210.2 yen per kg, after gaining as much as 217.4 yen earlier in the day. On a Thursday-to-Friday basis, the Malaysian Rubber Board’s noon price for tyre-grade SMR 20 fell 49 sen to 625.5 sen a kg from 674.5 sen kg, while latex-in-bulk declined 50 sen to 516.0 sen a kg from 566.0 sen a kg. The 5 pm unofficial closing price for SMR 20 went down 33.5 sen to 631.0 sen a kg from 664.5 sen a kg and latex-in-bulk was 45.5 sen lower at 514.5 sen a kg from 560.0 sen a kg. Source: globalrubbermarket (25/09/2017)

 (Sept 25):   futures ended up 0.7% on Monday, recovering from a five-week low hit in the previous session, buoyed by a softer yen and a slight gain in Shanghai futures, brokers said.

The Tokyo Commodity Exchange rubber contract for February delivery finished 3.1 yen higher at 213.6 yen (US$1.90) per kg.

The contract had slipped to 208.2 yen on Friday, the lowest since Aug 15, partly as concerns about supply tightness in  eased.

The front-month September contract expired on Monday, settling unchanged after no trades were executed.

The Japanese unit weakened 0.3% to 112.30 yen per dollar, aided by renewed hopes of an economic stimulus package from Prime Minister  as he is expected to announce a snap election, to be held on Oct 22.

The most-active rubber contract on the Shanghai Futures exchange for January delivery rose 45 yuan to finish at 14,580 yuan (US$2,205) per tonne, as the yuan fell to its lowest level in nearly four weeks.

The front-month rubber contract on Singapore’s  exchange for October delivery last traded at 151.5 US cents per kg, down 1.9 cent.

(US$1 = 112.2600 yen)
(US$1 = 6.6125 Chinese yuan)

Source: globalrubbermarket (25/09/2017)

Nashville, TN - Bridgestone Corporation and Bridgestone Americas Inc. announced the American Red Cross will receive $1 million to assist with relief efforts following hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The funding is intended to support recovery efforts across Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida, key states in regions where Bridgestone has thousands of employees, customers and business partners. “We have been humbled to hear of the tragic deaths associated with these hurricanes and send condolences to those who lost loved ones,” said Chris Karbowiak, chief administrative officer for Bridgestone Americas. “We are proud to employ some of our strengths to support the affected communities and help rebuild lives and livelihoods. And more than anything, we are proud that our teammates have given so generously to support their community needs and their affected colleagues.” In addition to the American Red Cross donation, Bridgestone Americas is redirecting a portion of its annual Nashville-area United Way campaign allocation United Way relief efforts in Texas. Moreover, the Bridgestone Americas internal employee assistance funds, built by annual employee giving, have allocated more than $400,000 to support teammates procure temporary housing and vital necessities such as food, bottled water and building supplies in times of need. To date, hundreds of Bridgestone employees have experienced losses or damages of their homes. More than 200 teammates have been able to receive support from Bridgestone Americas employee assistance funds. The Bridgestone footprint in the affected areas of Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida includes approximately 6,000 employees employed at more than 500 retail stores, many manufacturing facilities and several distribution centers. The Bridgestone Group conducts business in over 150 countries throughout the world. Bridgestone believes in the importance of building relationships of trust with local communities, as well as contributing to the development of and providing support for people's lifestyles and education in local communities in the countries where it does business. - Source: rubber world (25/09/2017)

Tokyo, Japan - Automotive rubber parts manufacturer Nishikawa Rubber Co. Ltd. announced it had reached an agreement in principle for a settlement with plaintiffs in a class-action civil lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, involves the company’s sales of automotive sealing components. Nishikawa Rubber has agreed to pay a settlement of approximately $49.29 million, which it plans to report as an extraordinary loss in the second quarter of the fiscal year ending March 2018. A year ago, Nishikawa agreed to plead guilty and pay a $130 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix the prices of and rig the bids for automotive body sealing products installed in cars sold to U.S. consumers. Source: rubber world (25/09/2017)

Geneva, Switzerland - The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has issued new international standards for the determination of biomass-based (biobased) content of rubber and rubber products based on a proposal filed by Japan. ISO 19984-2:2017 specifies measuring methods for the determination of biobased carbon contents in rubber and rubber products, including polyurethanes. The methods focus on carbon atoms in rubber or rubber products, and determine whether the carbon-containing component is biobased or not judging from the concentration of 14C, radiocarbon isotope. ISO 19984-2:2017 applies to rubber and rubber products such as raw materials, materials and final products Source: rubber world (25/09/2017)

Shinzo Abe's government is under assault from all sides: Kim Jong Un's missile threats, Donald Trump's trade war barbs, cronyism scandals and underperforming economic policies. What is an embattled Japanese leader to do? Hold an election, of course. During nearly five years in power, Abe has pulled off more contests than notable reforms. Each time, he has cited the need for a fresh mandate from voters. Abe's plan for yet another -- a snap election as soon as Oct. 22 -- betrays what the exercise is really about: self-preservation. In December 2012, voters bought Abe's growth and renewal talk. He pledged to kill deflation with three arrows: monetary easing, fiscal loosening and, most importantly, structural change. Instead, he fired a series of toy darts, more distracting from than slaying the status quo. Each time the public has grown weary, Abe boosts the Abenomics sales pitch, promises the world, and calls an election. Abe now smells weakness in the ranks of the main opposition Democratic Party. But he might want to run this latest election by Britain's prime minister Theresa May, who suffered a blistering defeat in a snap June poll. Voters sometimes catch on when politicians use them for their own ends by holding an unnecessary, costly and gridlock-inducing poll. Like May, Abe may find Oct. 22 is a gamble too far. The LDP is promising something for everyone -- higher wages, free education, ample childcare, a tougher stance on North Korea -- all possible if only you vote for us once again. What's really afoot, though, is the swansong Abe has been working toward since his first stint as prime minister a decade ago: revising Japan's pacifist constitution to explicitly allow the country to have armed forces. This tunnel vision at the very worst possible moment will tarnish his legacy. Abe was elected to find Japan's lost economic mojo. His pitch to voters came amid the shock and trauma of China having just leapfrogged Japan to become the world's No. 2 economy. After three years of drift and a revolving door of premiers under opposition rule, Abe's LDP wrested back power with a manifesto of deregulatory big bangs, higher living standards and renewed pride. It was morning in Japan again, with Abe casting himself as Ronald Reagan with a healthy dose of Margaret Thatcher tossed in. Abenomics the product has not lived up to the spin. In July, wages fell the most in 25 months, bonuses were slashed and inflationary pressures were nonexistent. Even though Japan has grown for six straight quarters, companies from Toyota to Fast Retailing lack the confidence to fatten paychecks. There is virtually no chance Abe can be believed when he claims that, this time, he really is serious about loosening labor markets, tweaking taxes (not just raising them) and engineering a startup boom. No, what he really cares about is rewriting Japan's constitution and little else. Leaders cannot control their legacies. Try as he may to undo every advance during the Barack Obama years, posterity will give infinitely higher marks to President Obama's policies than President Trump's. If Britain's May resigned tomorrow, botching the Brexit process and insulting voters' intelligence would dominate the postmortems. Abe, meanwhile, is likely to be remembered for damaging Japan's democracy, not for a Reagan/Thatcher moment. Secrets, security, constitution Abe's three biggest wins: a draconian secrets bill that could toss journalists and whistleblowers into jail; ambiguous security laws that could arrest people before they might, possibly, someday commit a crime; pretending the constitution allows Tokyo to send troops overseas. The irony is that Japan has been a solid global citizen for decades now. It has every right to alter the pacifist Article 9 of the constitution to field a conventional military. But Abe should wait and do it properly via a national referendum, not reinterpret the document in advance to cheer right-wing ideologues. Economic reform loses out to expediency and constitutional tinkering Boosters of the prime minister point to the Bank of Japan's epic monetary easing and moves to tighten corporate governance and pull more women into the labor market. Critics point to tolerance of Toshiba's creative accounting, Takata's deadly airbags and Tokyo Electric Power Co. leaning on customers to pay for the radiation cleanup at Fukushima. Nor have the BOJ cornering the bond and stock markets or a greater return on equity boosted wages, particularly for women being directed into low-paying, "non-regular" jobs. Abenomics does have one thing in common with Reaganomics and Thatchernomics: It is welfare for the rich, not middle class families falling behind. Last week, Abe returned to the New York Stock Exchange, almost three years to the day after he urged traders there to "buy my Abenomics." He told punters that he has "continued single-mindedly to take action to reform Japan's economic structure from the foundation up." If that were true, wages and bonuses would not be falling today. Also, cozying up to Trump with hundreds of billions of dollars of investments to boost America, will not make Japan's economy great again any more than hosting the 2020 Olympics will (did London 2012 revitalize Britain?). Only bold reforms can do that. One of the basic rules of politics is that you pounce when opponents are down. Even though Abe's approval ratings have only just risen above the 30s, the opposition Democratic Party, newly led by the milquetoast Seiji Maehara, is making it easy for the governing LDP. Voters and investors alike should be wary of thinking that elections for elections' sake will help. If only Abe spent half as much time rolling up his sleeves to create a more vibrant economy as he does electioneering, Abenomics would not need more reboots than punters can count. Source: (25/09/2017)

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court last week raided the house of the finance minister Ishaq Dar to arrest him after he failed to appear before it in connection with a case about massing wealth beyond his resources. The court had issued bailable arrest warrant for the finance minister Dar is staying put in London along with the deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and he is unlikely to return unless he gets bail before arrest. Even if he gets bail and returns to the country, he may not be able to concentrate on his job as the NAB, on the instructions of the Supreme Court, has now appealed the Lahore Court orders shelving the infamous Huddaibiya Papers case in which he is the key witness. He had testified to the investigations during the Musharraf regime that the money was laundered on behalf of Sharif to a family in London. Dar has said that the statement was extracted from him under duress. In view of the growing predicament of Dar, who is related to the ousted prime minister, the opposition has stepped up calls for him to step down. Several members of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance including its chairman Saleem Mandviwala called on Dar to resign as the reports of the raid on his house would send a wrong message about Pakistan outside the world, as well as to the country’s financial sector. The reports triggered speculations that Dar is mulling to tender his resignation and even media ran stories that deliberations are underway to find his alternative; though Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi tried to sidestep the question on this subject during his media encounter in New York. “No reshuffle in the cabinet is on the cards,” Abbasi said to a questioner. However, experts say the government should remove uncertainty involving the finance minister and settle this issue as quickly as possible. “It is not in the own interest of Mr Dar to continue as finance minister,” senior economist Shahid Hasan Siddiqui said. “The economy is already in serious crisis and it could not afford that this controversy persists.” Dr Ashfaq Hasan Khan, the former economic advisor and long time critique of the economic policies of the finance minister, said Dar, who has been mired in many controversies even in his last stint in the office, to start, should not have accepted the job four years ago. “We are not affiliated with any political party and from day one we have been saying that the government’s economic policies would lead Pakistan to disaster and our stance has been vindicated.” He was also highly critical of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which carried out quarterly reviews of the country’s economy under the $6.6 billion bailout package that expired last year on the basis of “fake data” provided by the government. He wondered at the IMF for praising the government of Pakistan during the first three years of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) package. The IMF showered the government with all out praise for its economic policies, despite strong reservations expressed by the independent economic experts. However, now, the international lender is issuing critical statements on the economy of the country. “These (are) all politically motivated statements.” The economic experts, however, said the replacement of Dar with a new finance minister would not mitigate the economic woes of the country until the government overhauls its economic strategy. He said the economic situation is a serious challenge for the prime minister himself. “The prime minister should say frankly that enough is enough and express his resolve to fix the economy and bring up a devoted economic team of Pakistanis at the finance ministry, State Bank and Planning Commission to achieve this objective,” Dr Khan added. The finance minister has long been claiming to have turned around the economy which was on the brink of a collapse when he assumed office in 2013. He has been taking credit of achieving high growth rate to over five percent which was below three percent in 2013 as well as building up the foreign exchange reserves to over 20 billion dollars which were below 800 million dollars four years ago. However, those achievements seem to be now falling apart because of fast depleting foreign exchange reserves, spiralling circular debt, declining exports and remittances as well as fast growing circular debt. Mr Dar’s emphasis throughout his tenure has been on juggling with economic data, but no serious effort was made to fix the real problems afflicting Pakistan’s economy for decades. After coming into power, the present government paid the entire circular debt in one go but failed to take necessary steps to stop its recurrence. The government is expected to leave circular debt much more than 480 billion rupees it inherited as it failed to introduce the much-needed reforms in the creeping energy sector of the country. Similarly, there have been growing calls for the government to bring the powerful and influential segments, like big landlords, into the tax net, but it conveniently ignored the demands for political reasons. Inflexible exchange rate is one of the many reasons for the low exports of the country. The government has avoided devaluing the rupee against dollar due to the fear of high inflation that could trigger a public backlash, but this policy has badly hit the exports of the country. A new finance minister could also make a difference if he is given a free hand to handle the economic issues of the country purely on professional basis and without any interference from any other quarter. “There are no quick fixes. It would take at least two to three years to stabilise the economy,” Ashfaque Hasan Khan said. After assuming office, the current Prime Minister Abbasi had vowed to work tirelessly to address the problems of the country as much as he could in the limited time available to him. On the foreign policy front, he has brought about a pleasant change. Abbasi as well as foreign minister Khawaja Asif are putting in commendable efforts to project Pakistan’s case at the international forums, as happened at the UN General Assembly in New York. The government has reached out to important regional and influential countries of the world to mobilise support for the position on Kashmir and the war on terror. One hopes that the prime minister shows same vigour in fixing the long-running economic woes of the country. The writer is a senior journalist based in Islamabad Source: The International THE NEWS (25/09/2017)

China’s announcement Saturday that it would halt exports of some petroleum products to North Korea and stop importing textiles from the rogue nation is just the latest evidence that President Trump’s campaign to put economic pressure on North Korea is beginning to pay dividends. As part of his efforts to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and missile programs, President Trump issued a new executive order Thursday that turns up the heat on what he called a “band of criminals” in Pyongyang. The executive order – issued just 48 hours after the president’s scathing denunciation of North Korea at the United Nations – imposes sanctions on any foreign financial institution that conducts or facilitates “any significant transaction in connection with trade with North Korea.” In addition, the order bars ships and planes that have stopped in North Korea from entering the U.S. for 180 days afterward. While the escalating war of insults thrown back and forth between President Trump and North Korean leaders is drawing international attention, the new executive order and other economic measures aimed at the North could have a greater impact. Now North Korea is about to feel the full force of U.S. economic pressure, which caused Iran to buckle. Kim Jong Un will face difficult choices as his cash flow begins to wither away. President Trump’s executive order is part of a robust campaign that is producing results. It gives all governments, companies, and individuals that want to trade with North Korea a clear choice: do business with either North Korea or the United States – but not both. Losing access to America’s $19 trillion market would be a stiff price to pay. Although the new executive order has not yet prompted North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to halt his provocations and escalating rhetoric, it puts more pressure on him to end to his nuclear and missile programs. China, which accounts for about 90 percent of North Korea’s foreign trade, is clearly getting the message of U.S. opposition to its economic support of the North. Before it announced its new trade restrictions with North Korea on Saturday, China supported two United Nations sanctions resolutions imposing trade restrictions against North Korea. In addition, China’s central bank issued a directive to the country’s banks to cease trade with North Koreans. China’s behavior bears close watching, since Beijing has a history of backsliding when the spotlight fades. In addition, it is not clear if the new banking directive covers financial activity conducted by Chinese individuals on behalf of North Korea. President Trump’s new executive order essentially tells China’s leadership that half measures are not enough. While Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said the new executive order was not directed at China – a statement that is technically true – the order is certainly directed at precisely the kind of trade activities Beijing has persistently turned a blind eye to. The new U.S. policy is modeled on a provision in the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions and Divestment Act of 2010 that targeted business with Iran. Those sanctions put pressure on Iran to negotiate the controversial agreement that restricted its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions. Kim Jong Un should be especially concerned because President Trump’s executive order is broader than the sanctions imposed on Iran seven years ago, which targeted only specific Iranian entities and certain aspects of Iranian trade. In contrast, President Trump’s new executive order authorizes the Treasury Department to cut off access to the U.S. financial system or freeze the assets of any banks that knowingly conduct significant transactions for sanctioned people or companies that trade with North Korea. Mistakenly, many Americans assume that comprehensive sanctions are already in place on North Korea. In fact, as of July, North Korea was only fourth on the list of countries with the most people subject to American sanctions – up from eighth place in early 2016. More importantly, massive loopholes in the sanctions on North Korea are now being closed. Until recently, sanctions on the North were lackluster because they rarely targeted the foreigners – mainly Chinese and Russian – who facilitate illicit trade. For example, until now, foreign banks – especially in China – could process transactions for sanctions evaders without much concern they would ever pay a price. Now that should change. President Trump’s new executive order enables the Treasury Department to target foreign banks that are not asking the right questions about their “customer’s customer.” These banks now must find out if the transaction for a company in China, Hong Kong or elsewhere really hides trade for North Korea or a designated North Korean entity under the surface. The new executive order is a warning shot before the Treasury Department unleashes significant penalties on banks that don’t ask more probing questions about their customers’ customers. Now North Korea is about to feel the full force of U.S. economic pressure, which caused Iran to buckle. Kim Jong Un will face difficult choices as his cash flow begins to wither away. We can only hope that this economic warfare convinces the North Korean regime to step back from threats to explode a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific or take other provocative action that could lead to a shooting war with the United States. Source: fox news (25/09/2017)

SYDNEY/TOKYO (Reuters) - The euro slipped in early Asian trading on Monday after Germany’s election showed surging support for a far-right party that left Chancellor Angela Merkel scrambling to form a governing coalition. The euro EUR= was trading down 0.3 percent at $1.1922 and could test support around $1.1860 as liquidity picked up through the session. Merkel did win a fourth term in office on Sunday but will have to build an uneasy coalition to form a government after her conservatives haemorrhaged support in the face of a surge by the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD). Despite winning the most votes, Merkel’s bloc slumped to its worst result since 1949 and her current Social Democrat coalition partners said they would go into opposition after tumbling to 20.7 percent in projections, a post-war low. “Probably the most significant announcement following the election was that the current junior coalition partner, SPD, immediately announced it would go into opposition,” said Peter Schaffrik, global macro strategist at RBC Europe in London. “With the withdrawal (from a grand coalition) by the SPD, we think the only realistic option left is a coalition of Merkel’s CDU/CSU, the Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens - dubbed ‘Jamaica coalition - due to the colors of the three blocks (black/yellow/green),” he added. Political uncertainty also took a toll on the New Zealand dollar after no single party won a majority in an election over the weekend. The New Zealand currency NZD=D4 dropped 0.7 percent to $0.7285, though it found chart support at $0.7280 for now. The ruling National Party won the largest number votes in the election, but neither of the major parties won enough seats to gain a majority in parliament, forcing a round of coalition building that could last days or weeks Sterling was steady for the moment at $1.3486 GBP=D4 after falling on Friday when ratings agency Moody's downgraded Britain's credit rating, saying government plans to bring down debt had been knocked off course and Brexit would weigh on the economy. A few hours after Prime Minister Theresa May set out plans for new ties with the European Union, Moody’s cut the rating to Aa2, underscoring the economic risks that leaving the bloc poses for the world’s fifth-biggest economy. May failed to give any concrete details for how Britain might retain preferential access to Europe’s single market in her speech. The yen weakened 0.4 percent to 112.36 yen JPY= per dollar, helped by renewed hope for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic stimulus as he is expected to announce a snap election, to be held on October 22. A weekend survey by the Nikkei business daily showed 44 percent of voters planned to vote for Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) versus 8 percent for the main opposition Democratic Party. “It’s easier for traders to start the week by selling the yen given expected resolution of the parliament and so on. But I would suspect a lot of election related stuff is already priced in and the yen would have limited downside,” said Kyosuke Suzuki, director of foreign exchange at Societe Generale in Tokyo. Source: reuters (25/09/2017)