Global natural rubber output fall may impact import to India

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Kochi: Anticipated rise in global prices due to heavy rubber output fall in major producing country may curb its import to .

Declining consumption has already led to nearly 14 per cent drop in NR import to India in the first six months of 2019-20 from the same period last year. Rubber Board has projected a 17 per cent drop in import year-on-year to 415,000 tonne for FY20.

“There is a possibility of prices firming up, which may check the import, encouraging the domestic growers to go for more tapping,’’ said Sawar Dhanania, Rubber Board chairman.

The has projected 800,000 tonne plunge in output this year in top natural rubber producers – , Indonesia and Malaysia – due to fungal disease.

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In the year 2019, the world production of NR is expected to outstrip consumption by 198,000 tonnes despite several negative factors, according to Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries ().

“ As a result of unattractive prices, poor demand from China, fungal diseases and unfavourable weather conditions, the world production of NR is anticipated to increase only by 0.2 per cent to 13.897 million tonnes in 2019 lower than earlier estimate of 14.073 million tonnes,’’ said ANRPC senior economist Jom Jacob.

Offtake is low as China and India, the top two rubber consuming countries, have scaled down consumption for 2019. Based on the revised outlook, the world consumption is anticipated to fall 1.1 per cent from 2018 at 13.699 million tonnes, he said, adding that as China accounts for 40 per cent of the global consumption of NR, the US-China and slowing economic activities in the country have greater implications.

Meanwhile, unabated rains have hit tapping in India, which has entered peak production phase. “ Yield has come down by 10 to 15 per cent compared with last year. We feel if the rain continues then the production will be nearer to 700,000 tonnes, lower than the revised estimate of 730,000 tonnes of Rubber Board for FY20,’’ said Santhosh Kumar, senior vice president of Harrisons Malayalam Ltd., the largest rubber producer in the country.

Rubber Board chairman reckons that improved prices may prompt growers to tap more. The rubber prices at 125.50 per kg has increased 5 per cent in the last one month and is higher vis-à-vis last year. “ We are focusing on increasing output in non-traditional areas and timely re-plantation in traditional growing regions,’’ he said.

Some growers feel the rains may lead to extension of tapping months beyond January.

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