Despite the 5.21% fall in production, year-end closing stocks of natural rubber is expected to be around 2.87 lakh tonne in the current financial year, says Rubber Board.
However, tyre industry refuses to buy this stock position claim.
It is just theoretical stock, if the sheets do not come out of their hiding soon, Rajiv Budhraja, director-general, Automative Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA), told FE. This would mean that there is either incorrect stock computation or that hoarding and speculative activities are hotting up, he added.
The consumer industry is worried about the rising prices of natural rubber as the production slowdown has pushed prices of premium RSS-4 sheet price to Rs 143 per kilo, very close to its all-time high of Rs 147 per kilo.
Both the definition of stock and the computation of stock, as practiced by Rubber Board needs an urgent revisit. Often, rubber sheets, that are in the smoke-chamber, as part of drying process, are factored in as stock, Budhraja said. After an earlier spat over stock calculation process, ATMA spokesman in Board of directors of Rubber Board had sought for a verification study.