Jan rubber production may reach record

Kottayam, Jan 28 | Updated: Jan 29 2008, 06:00am hrs
Rubber output may rise 14% to a record this month after cool weather helped plantation work, the state-run Rubber Board said. Output may reach 110,000 metric tonne in January, from 96,450 tonne a year ago, G Mohana Chandran, the boards joint director, said by phone on Monday from Kottayam in Kerala. Stockpiles at the end of the month may gain 31% to 234,000 tonne, he said.

Higher production in India may weigh on benchmark rubber prices in Tokyo that have fallen 7.6% this year amid concern that slowing economies may curb car sales and weaken demand for the commodity. Rubber reached a record 313.30 yen a kilogram ($2,941 a tonne) on December 27. Production in January could be an all-time high as growers were able to extend tapping because of the cold climate, Sajen Peter, chairman of the Kottayam-based board, said.

Imports by MRF Ltd. and Apollo Tyres Ltd., may almost halve to 5,200 tonne in January because of increased local production, according to a Rubber Board estimate. Rubber output fell 6.4% to 619,850 tonne between April and December, while consumption rose 4.7% to 640,435 tonne in the same period, Chandran said.