The natural rubber market is anticipated to continue struggling due to plunging prices, according to the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC).
A worker of Cu Mgar Rubber Company harvests latex.
At its 10th annual meeting in HCM City on Monday, ARNPC said the global natural rubber market has been facing difficulties since 2012 when prices started to dip, affecting the lives of more than six million rubber growers.
The decline in prices was attributed to the imbalance in supply and demand, which originated from a typical cultivation cycle of perennial plants and weakening global industrial production.
Since the end of 2016, natural rubber prices have recovered slightly but continue to lack stability, the association said.
According to A.Ajith Kumar, ANRPC’s president, rubber prices will continue to hover at low levels.
He said solutions to support rubber growers were just temporary to overcome the period of low prices.
Tran Ngoc Thuan, president of the Viet Nam Rubber Association, said to cope with the period of low prices, which could prolong for several coming years, Viet Nam was striving to improve output and land use efficiency, cut costs and enhance quality, along with developing the rubber processing industry.
In addition, promoting the use of rubber wood was also important, Thuan said.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan said the Government of Viet Nam had increased domestic consumption of rubber from 18 per cent to more than 30 per cent and developed rubber processing to support the industry towards sustainable development.
There were more than 13.5 million hectares of rubber in the world, of which the 12 member countries of ANRPC accounted for 90 per cent.
The global demand for rubber was forecast to increase by 1.2 per cent to reach 12.38 million tonnes this year, while the global supply would be some 12.88 million tonnes.
Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Viet Nam are the world’s largest rubber producers with total output making up for nearly 80 per cent of the global output.
Statistics of the General Department of Customs showed that in the first nine months of this year, Viet Nam’s rubber exports reached more than 955,680 tonnes, worth $1.6 billion, representing increases of 10.6 per cent in volume and 49.2 per cent in value over the same period last year.
The country also spent $802.3 million in importing more than 392,455 tonnes of rubber in the nine-month period.
A report by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development showed that in 2017, Viet Nam’s rubber output rose by 3.9 per cent.
Rubber latex was at some VND12,500 per kilo in September. — VNS