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Top rubber producers yet to agree on how to support price -Thai Minister

By Kaweewit Kaewjinda

BANGKOK, Oct 6 (Reuters) – Top rubber producers will meet inMalaysia next week to discuss measures to support prices,Thailand’s Agriculture Minister said on Monday, as farmers reelfrom a slide in the value of the commodity to a five-year low.

A supply glut and weak demand from main consumer China droveinternational rubber prices to their weakest level since 2009 onFriday. Thai and Malaysian rubber producers said last week thatthey supported an Indonesian proposal to set a minimum price,but have made no announcements on how they plan to put a floorunder the market.

Rubber producers have yet to agree any concrete measures toreverse the price slide, Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya toldReuters after a meeting in Bangkok with Malaysia’s PlantationsIndustries and Commodities Minister Douglas Uggah Embas.

“Our senior officials will meet next week,” Petipong said.”What I’m trying to do is review the measures that have beendiscussed in the past to see what is possible.”

He did not say whether Indonesian representatives wouldattend the meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

Petipong and Embas plan to call a ministerial meeting withother rubber producers in Southeast Asia at a later date, a Thaiagriculture ministry official said.

Previous efforts to shore up prices by the three majorSoutheast Asian producers – who account for more than 70 percentof global natural rubber output – have had little success evenwhen they involved concrete measures such as supply cuts.

Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, which are grouped underthe International Rubber Consortium, last acted jointly in2012-2013, agreeing to cut exports by 300,000 tonnes, or about 3percent of 2012 global output.

Rubber prices rose briefly in response to that plan beforesliding again due to fears that the debt crisis in Europe couldderail demand.

INDONESIA’S PLAN

Thai and Malaysian rubber producers said last week that theysupported an Indonesian proposal to set a $1.50 per kg minimumprice for rubber.

Prices continued to fall and the benchmark March rubbercontract on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange touched itslowest level since July 2009 on Friday at 173.8 yen ($1.58) perkilo.

Markets in top rubber consumer China are shut for aweek-long public holiday, putting further pressure on themarket. They reopen on Wednesday.

Petipong said this was his first meeting with the MalaysianMinister since he was appointed by Prime Minister PrayuthChan-ocha. Prayuth led a military coup in Thailand on May 22 andnamed his cabinet in late August. ($1 = 109.7500 Japanese Yen) (Additional reporting by Simon Webb; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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