Global Natural Rubber Production Shows 2009 Decline
Production of natural rubber in the seven countries that account for 93 per cent of world supplies – Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Vietnam, China and Sri Lanka – is continuing to fall. Data covering the period to May 2009 indicated that natural rubber in Thailand (the country that supplies a third of the world’s requirements) dropped 22 per cent during the first four months of 2009 to 107,175 thousand tons. In the first five months of the year Malaysian output fell 28 per cent to 47,333 thousand tons due to a combination of factors including lower than anticipated rains which slowed tapping activity, poor export demand and an ongoing replanting programme. Replanting and the resultant reduction in tappable crop area were largely responsible for production in Vietnam declining 22 per cent year-on-year in the January to May period to 11,036 thousand tons, while natural rubber output in India fell nine per cent in the first five months of the year.
While natural output fell sharply in most major producing countries, China and Sri Lanka were the exceptions to the rule. Annualised output in China rose 138 per cent or 2.4 times in the five months ended May 2009 to 5,367 thousand tons. This rise, however, largely mirrors the previous year’s drastic decline. Sri Lankan natural rubber output rose by 10 per cent in the five months ended May 2009 to 5,160 thousand tons from a year earlier, despite a 2,000 hectare contraction in tapped land area.