Kuala Lumpur – The Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) expects the world consumption of natural rubber to fall 1.5% this year, after a sharp decline in demand in the first quarter.
In its monthly trends update published 30 March, the ANRPC said it estimated the global consumption to drop to 13.53 million tonnes for the whole year, down from the an earlier estimate of 1.2% growth in February.
Over the three months to end of March, demand fell 19.6% year-over-year to 2.7 million tonnes, due mainly to a significant decline in consumption in China, said the ANRPC.
Accounting for 40% of the world NR consumption, China saw demand fall 27.1% in January and 73.5% in February compared with the corresponding months a year ago, according to ANRPC.
During the same period, the world production of NR increased by 1.8%, year-over-year, to 3.0 million tonnes, according to preliminary estimates by individual countries.
The ANRPC has also revised down the global production estimates to 2.2% growth to 14.1 million for the whole year.
The ANRPC expects the preliminary estimates of both the production and consumption to be subject to further downward revision, due to low NR prices and movement controls measures initiated as a result of Covid-19 outbreak.