Rubber prices are predicted to increase gradually as suppliers in the main producing countries restrict their stock for export to let the price recover after a long decline.
Pol Sopha, director-general of the rubber department at the Agriculture Ministry, said exports had increased from year to year, reaching 50,000 metric tons per year.
The increase in the number of products made of rubber now offers more possibilities for the processing industry, for example if a company wants to invest in a vehicle tire processing plant in the country,” Mr. Sopha said.
The price farmers and traders get today is acceptable compared with the same period last year when prices fell sharply. Meanwhile, rubber prices have risen slowly to about $1,500 per metric ton, according to Mr. Sopha.
“This year the rubber price may rise gradually amid expectations that the global economic recovery and major rubber producing countries in the world will reduce their stock,” Mr. Sopha said.
Cambodia exports rubber to Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, China and some countries in the European Union.
International rubber prices rebounded late last year but Cambodia’s exports remained relatively unchanged compared with 2015, the ministry said.
Cambodia exported 128,111 metric tons in 2016, marginally up on the 128,047 metric tons in 2015.
The price of natural rubber rose from a low of $1.20 per kilogram in early 2016 to $1.60 in the last quarter of the year and $2.40 per kilogram in late 2016.
Lim Heng, vice-president of An Mady Group, predicted that the price of rubber would rise in the coming years.
“OPEC countries are reducing their production to cause the price of oil to rise,” he said.
“When the price of oil is high, it will be too expensive to make synthetic rubber, and natural rubber prices will rise.”