World rubber supply shrinks; India climbs to third position

Written by M Sarita Varma | Thiruvananthapurm | Updated: Jan 2 2010, 03:32am hrs
The shortage in global natural rubber supply is assuming alarming dimensions, if the data culled by Association of Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) is any indication.

Just as the worlds annual rubber output from main producers dropped by 585,000 tonne in 2009 compared to 2008, in 2010 too, the shortage is expected to be more. Amidst the gloom, there are some positive tidings for Indias small holding rubber farmers. In an interesting sidelight, the latest estimate point to India climbing up to third position in worlds top rubber producer charts.

In 2009, the rubber belt of India produced at least 1,000 tonne more rubber than Malaysia .

However, the acute shortage of natural rubber is worrying tyremakers.

In eight major rubber producing countries, the fall in rubber production has expanded to 6.4% in the 12-month period up to November 2009.

In the 12-month period up to October 2009, the shortfall was only 5.1%. The possibility of further fall in supply has also been indicated, Djoko Said Damardjati, secretary-general, ANRPC cautioned in the Associations monthly bulletin. Official data gathered in second and third weeks of December supports this prognosis, he said.

A close look at the statistics show that the worst letdown came from Malaysia , which was touted the worlds third biggest rubber producer. Malaysias rubber output fell 23.4% in 2009.

Although the latest estimates suggest 8.3% and 4.4% fall respectively in rubber output in 2009 in Thailand and Indonesiathe top two producerstheir production tonnage is too high to be shaken from their original rankings.

Heavy rains in southern Thailand had affected the output of worlds biggest rubber producer. Malaysia, which was counting on producing 951,000 tonne of rubber in 2009, had recently slashed its estimates to 820,000 tonne.

India too trimmed its original production estimates for 2009 from 827,000 tonne to 822,000 tonne. In 2009, India had the highest average yield among all major rubber producing countries at 1,764 kg per hectare, which was closely followed by Vietnam at 1,625 kg per hectare.