Singapore – The International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) expects a sharp rebound in world rubber demand in 2021 following a strong recovery in global economies.
In its July edition of World Rubber Industry Outlook (WRIO), the Singapore-based organisation said it anticipated total rubber demand to rebound 7.4% year-on-year in 2021 and moderate to 4.7% in 2022.
Last year, the global rubber demand declined by 6.0% to 27.07 million tonnes, 1.1 percentage point smaller than IRSG’s earlier projection.
IRSG attributed the smaller contraction to “strong recovery” in the second half of 2020 in the advanced economies and China.
For 2021, the organisation expects demand in the tire sector to recover by 7.2% from a deeper contraction of 7.3% experienced in 2020.
A stronger 7.6% recovery is projected for non-tire sector, which will be driven by continued surge in demand from the healthcare industry and mobility supply chain.
IRSG also anticipates the global natural rubber (NR) consumption to rebound by 7.1% this year, recovering from a 6.8% decline in 2020 to 12.71 million tonnes.
The world synthetic rubber (SR) demand declined by 5.3% reaching 14.36 million tonnes in 2020 and is forecast to recover by 7.6% in 2021 supported by stronger growth in the US, Europe, and emerging markets in Asia.
World NR production declined by 5.1% in 2020 reaching 13 million tonnes.
According to IRSG, tapping days were lost due to extreme weather, spread of leaf fall disease and labour shortage during the pandemic crisis.
Furthermore, IRSG expects a lower rate of total planting to have an impact on the medium and longer-term supply.
Total NR production this year is forecast to rebound by 6.5%, reaching 13.86 million tonnes and exceeding the pre-pandemic 2019 level. NR production growth will moderate to 3.5% in 2022.