Natural rubber production grew in 2013

KUALA LUMPUR—Natural rubber production increased 4.7 percent in 2013 among the 11 member countries of the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries, the ANRPC said.

Total 2013 NR production was 11.15 million metric tons, according to the February issue of Natural Rubber Trends & Statistics, the ANRPC monthly report.

Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines all revised their 2013 production reports since the January issue of Natural Rubber Trends, which caused the ANRPC to change its 2013 numbers, the association said. In January, the ANRPC said 2013 NR production was 10.95 million tons, up 3.2 percent from 2012.

Volatility in world markets caused NR prices to fall precipitously between December 2013 and February 2014, according to the report.

Standard Malaysian Rubber 20 (tire grade) stood at $231.76 for 100 kilograms in December, but fell 6.9 percent to $215.72 in January and another 10.5 percent to $192.98 in February, the report said.

Standard Thai Rubber 20, which started at $233.04 per 100 kilos in December, dropped 7.3 percent in January to $216.58 and another 10.5 percent to $192.83 in February. Rubber Smoked Sheets 3 in Bangkok started at $256.95 per 100 kilos in December, then decreased 8.6 percent to $234.85 in January and 8 percent to $215.95 in February.

Recent irrational fluctuations in NR prices may end soon, thanks to production shutdowns during the wintering season and encouraging growth forecasts from consumer countries, said ANRPC Secretary General Kamarul Baharain Basir in his opening letter to the February report. This can’t happen soon enough for NR growers, he said.

“Low prices have been depressing the livelihood of rubber growers, especially smallholders, whereby the affected group has increasingly showed its discontent,” Kamarul said.

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