(Press Trust of India report)
New Delhi – The import of natural rubber in India rose 64% to 34,419 tonnes in May on account of lower prices in international markets and drop in domestic production.
India's natural rubber imports stood at 20,948 tonnes in the same month last year, according to data available with India’s Rubber Board.
For the full financial year 2013-14, the imports of the commodity increased 49% to 324,000 tonnes from 217,000 tonnes in 2012-13.
Also, the imports witnessed an increase in May despite the raising of import duty on natural rubber to Rs 30 (€0.37) per kg, or 20%, whichever is lower, in December last year.
The basic customs duty on natural rubber earlier stood at Rs 20 per kg, or 20%, whichever is lower.
"Imports have gone up as prices of both block rubber and sheet rubber in the international market are lower as compared to domestic prices," an unnamed senior Rubber Board official said.
The gap between international and domestic prices of block rubber is Rs 30-35 per kg, while that of sheet rubber is Rs 17-18 per kg.
About 95% of imported rubber is used by tire manufacturers and the country imports a big chunk of the commodity from Vietnam and Indonesia.
Meanwhile, the production of natural rubber dropped 10.2% to 53,000 tonnes in May 2014 as against 59,000 tonnes in the same month last year.
However, consumption of natural rubber rose marginally to 83,500 tonnes during the month from 81,325 tonnes in May 2013, according to the data.
Rubber exports declined to 11 tonnes in May this year as compared to 185 tonnes in the same month a year ago.