WASHINGTON (May 14)—Natural rubber prices in Tokyo and Jakarta, Indonesia, had a brief blip upward May 8 based on weakening currencies and a shortage of stocks, according to Reuters. The benchmark October 2001 contract for NR on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange inched up 0.5 yen per kilogram to 76.7, based on a decline in Japanese crude rubber stocks and a softening of the yen against the dollar. The same day, Indonesian traders made deals for Standard Indonesian Rubber 20 contracts at 22.25 cents per pound from Sumatran ports, based on short stocks for prompt shipments and the weakening of the rupiah amid the country's current political unrest. These price hikes are not significant, nor will they be long lasting, said Kip Tobin, president of Centrotrade Rubber U.S.A. in Akron and the Rubber Trade Association of North America. "There's skepticism whether this can last, because the fundamentals are the same—supply is plentiful, and demand isn't that great," Tobin said. The May 11 price of SIR 20, the rubber grade most commonly used in the U.S. to make tires, was 271/4 cents delivered to New Orleans or Norfolk, Va., he said.