Bangkok - Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia are considering new curbs on natural rubber exports to stabilise falling prices, Malaysian news service The Star online has reported.
The announcement was made as officials from International Tripartite Rubber Council (ITC) met in Bangkok to discuss rubber prices and production trends.
“Detailed plans are yet to be discussed and get final approval from ministers of the three countries,” the report quoted Salmiah Ahmad, CEO of ITC’s operating arm the International Rubber Consortium (IRCo), as saying.
In a statement on 21 April IRCo said its member states believed that the current NR prices were “not reflective the market fundamentals”.
During a two-day meeting, IRCo directors said they expected a decline in natural rubber production, particularly in Thailand due to “erratic weather condition”.
“East coast of Thailand is the main rubber plantation area accounting for about 60% of the whole plantation area of the country. For the first three months of this year, rainfall in the region has increased drastically by 400%,” said an IRCo statement.
Citing rubber plantation experts, the statement said the prolonged heavy rainfall could reduce production by 10%. This is while tapping intensity has slowed down due to lower NR prices.
“Countries like India, Indonesia and Malaysia are price-sensitive since their rubber tappers may resort to alternative sources of income… when prices are low,” IRCo added.
As ERJ recently reported, there has been a sharp downward in NR prices since March. This reversed a rally of previous months linked to supply concerns around flooding in Thailand, a spike in Chinese demand and oil-price movements.