Kuala Lumpur – Global demand for natural rubber (NR) has been hit severely by the outbreak of Covid-19 but according to the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC), “the worst is almost over.”
The world NR consumption dropped by 15.7% to 5.85 million tonnes in the first half 2020, due in part to a 20% decline in demand from China, which accounts for 40% of total global consumption.
In its June edition of monthly NR trends statistics update, the ANRPC said demand is now set to enter positive territory, increasing 1.4% year-on-year during the third quarter of 2020.
In particular, consumption in China is expected to increase by 0.8% year-on-year, during the three months to the end of September.
Demand levels, the association noted, have “almost returned to normal with the exception of a few countries.”
On the production side, the ANRPC said Covid-19 was to be blamed for the loss of nearly one million tonnes of potential NR supply across the globe.
For the full year, the world production is expected to stand at 13.199 million tonnes, down 4.5% from the previous year.
The estimate is marginally higher than the May outlook released by the ANRPC which put the total production estimate at 13.130 million tonnes for 2020.
The association linked the improvement to ‘better output’ from Cote d’Ivoire and Brazil.
Over the first six months of the year, the global NR production fell 6.5% year-on-year, to 5.70 million tonnes. The ANRPC said it anticipated supply to decline 0.8% year-on-year to 3.53 million tonnes in the third quarter.