London – Moves to curb natural rubber exports by the main producing countries seem to have had little positive impact on prices for the commodity – so far, at least.
Indeed, prices showed signs of weakening and even retreat during January, according to ERJ’s latest analysis of NR trading markets in the Far East.
This was despite the well-publicised plan by Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to jointly cut their NR exports by 350,000 tonnes over the first three month of 2018.
On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, prices for RU1805 – the most heavily traded NR future – stood at Yuan13,120/tonne on 31 Jan.
This was almost 7% lower than the Yuan14,105/tonne closing price recorded at the end of 2017.
Behind the January figures was a sharp reversal of an improvement on Chinese prices during the first half of the month: prices having reaching Yuan14,445/tonne on 15 Jan.
In Tokyo, meanwhile, TOCOM back-month prices for RSS3 materials showed a steady decline, closing at ¥204.1/kg on 24 Jan, compared to 206.7/kg on 29 Dec.
There was more positive news from Bangkok, where spot prices for RSS1 grades stood at $172.30/100kg on 31 Jan. This was up 5.5% above the 14 Dec closing price of $163.25/100kg.
Similarly, with a 5.6% increase, RSS3 grades closed at $168.65 at the end of January, against 159.70/100kg on 14 Dec.
However, there was again a mid-month peak: prices on the Thai exchange reaching $177.75/100kg for RSS1 and $174.15/100kg for RSS3 on 18 Jan.
In Kuala Lumpur, prices for SMR-20 were up 4.6% at $152.00/100kg on 30 Jan, compared to $145.25/100kg on 29 Dec.
Prices in Malaysia had risen to $155.10/100kg by 22 Jan before easing back towards the end of the month.
Latex spot prices in KL on 30 Jan also showed a mild improvement at $117.85/kg, up 1.9% compared to 115.60/kg on 29 Dec.