Natural rubber industry in ‘crisis’ as pandemic depresses demand – association


(Reuters) – Global production of natural rubber is likely to fall by nearly 5% this year as the pandemic has depressed demand and put the industry in , the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) said on Tuesday.

Natural rubber industry in 'crisis' as pandemic depresses demand - associationThe association, which at the beginning of this year that both production and demand would rise in 2020, now sees output falling – particularly in No. 2 producer – due to the economic impact of the coronavirus and the hit to the car industry.

“The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has put the world into one of the worst crises in the past few decades and has pushed the stakeholders in the whole value-chain into chaos,” R. B. Premadasa, secretary-general of the association said in a statement.

Demand from car tyre makers such as , the world’s biggest, has dwindled as car manufacturing slumped due to the pandemic and the Japanese company suspended operations at some plants in late April and early May.

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ANRPC expects Indonesia’s rubber output to drop 12.6% to 2.9 million tonnes in 2020, while No. 1 producer will see production fall by 0.9%.

While the association said there has been a spike in demand for rubber gloves and other protective equipment during the pandemic, that is offset by a plunge in demand from the car and other industries.

As a result it expects global production to fall by 4.7% to 13.13 million tonnes this year. At the beginning of the year, it forecast 3.8% and 2.7% rises in production and consumption respectively. Now it sees demand falling by 6% to 12.904 million tonnes.

Natural rubber by China, the world’s biggest consumer, could fall by 5.1% from a year ago to 4.8 million tonnes, it said, while demand in India – the No. 2 consumer and also a major producer of rubber – is set to plunge by 21.3% due in part to a lockdown of its car industry during the pandemic.


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