Kuala Lumpur – World demand for natural rubber exceeded supply in the first five months of the year 2018, according to the latest monthly figures from the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC).
Global NR consumption, ANRPC said 26 June, increased by 6.2% year-on-year to 5.822 million tonnes during the period from January to May 2018.
During the same period, world NR supply stood at 5.252 million tonnes, showing a year-on-year rise of 7.7%.
The 570-kilotonne shortage, noted the association, has helped to “partly absorb” excess availability in the market.
Throughout the year, ANRPC expects a balanced demand-supply scenario – production is anticipated to increase by 6.1% to 14.150 million tonnes and consumption by 6.9% to 14.300 million tonnes.
Despite the supply deficit and a sharp rally in crude oil prices in late April, NR prices strengthened only slightly between April and May, according to ANRPC.
This marginal recovery, it noted, was partly helped by the devaluation of Japanese yen, which had a positive impact on the rubber futures at TOCOM.
Sentiment in Asian commodity markets is, however, being weighed down by concerns over trade-war issues and the potential further revisions of policy interest rates by the US Federal Reserve.