Kuala Lumpur – World production of natural rubber totalled 2.14 million tonnes in the first two months of 2019, down 5.8% from January-February 2018, according to the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC).
The recent tropical storm in Thailand and early wintering of Hevea trees among ANRPC member countries contributed to the decline in NR production.
A new and serious fungal leaf-fall disease that appeared in Sumatra also hurt production, said ANRPC Secretary General Nguyen Ngoc Bich 19 April.
World NR demand decreased marginally in the two-month period, to 2.17 million tonnes, according to Nguyen.
Amid worries over a slower Chinese economy, the NR market has been bolstered by optimism over ongoing trade deals between China and the US, as well as unchanged interest rates from the Federal Reserve, he said.
NR Prices rallied in futures markets during February, according to Nguyen.
The effort to keep prices up continues with the decision by major producers to curb NR exports as well as OPEC's decision to cut oil exports, he said.
NR production fell 20% in Thailand in January-February, to 766,000 tonnes, according to the ANRPC.
However, this was partially offset by production increases in Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia, it said.