KOCHI: Rising imports are helping to bridge the gap between supply and demand of natural rubber in the country. The production of natural rubber has failed to keep pace with consumption during the six month period from April to September, 2012.
The consumption has risen by 5.6 % for the half-yearly period at 5,01,940 tonnes. At the same time, the production has shown just 1.1 % increase at 3,95,700 tonnes, according to the figures released by the Rubber Board. The production is expected to improve in the coming months as the commodity enters the peak harvest season. For the month of September, the production is up by 1800 tonnes at 82,000 tonnes over the same month in 2011.
Spiralling imports have helped meet the requirement even as the production has fallen short. The imports till the end of September touched 1,12640 tonnes, up by 23 % over the corresponding period of the previous year. The wide difference in the global and domestic prices has given a boost to the imports. The global prices of natural rubber, especially the block variety, have been cheaper by Rs 30 or more in the last several weeks.
Low international prices have, however, hit the export of natural rubber. Exports have dropped by nearly 60 % to 7466 tonnes till the end of September, 2012. The board has pegged the existing stock of natural rubber at 2,25,000 tonnes.