TOKYO, May 16 (Reuters) - Key Tokyo rubber futures fell on Thursday, losing ground for a third day as the dollar slipped against the yen and despite the release of better-than-expected economic growth data from Japan.
* The key Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) rubber contract for October delivery was down 4.4 yen, or 1.6 percent, at 278.3 per kg as of 0104 GMT. Earlier the contract traded as low as 276.3 yen.
* The October contract has dropped 7 percent since it reached 299 yen on Monday, the highest since March 12.
* Japan's economy grew faster than expected in January-March, expanding at its quickest pace in a year on the back of solid private consumption and a rise in exports spurred by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's aggressive monetary and fiscal stimulus.
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* Japan's Nikkei stock average rose to a fresh 5 1/2-year high on Thursday on the yen's persistent weakness against the dollar and record highs for U.S. stocks overnight.
* The dollar moved away from a new 4-1/2 year high against the yen hit in the previous session after disappointing U.S. industrial data caused U.S. Treasury prices to rise for the first time in a week, while the euro wobbled near a six-week low.
* U.S. crude futures slipped towards $94 a barrel on Thursday as rising U.S. gasoline stocks weighed on sentiment, but prices were buoyed as talks between the United Nations' nuclear agency and Iran stalled.
* The following data is expected on Wednesday: (Time in GMT)
0200 China Foreign direct investment
0900 Euro zone Eurostat trade
1230 U.S. Building permits
1230 U.S. Housing starts
1230 U.S. CPI
1230 U.S. Weekly jobless claims
1400 U.S. Philly Fed business index (Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Ed Davies)