Kuala Lumpur – The Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) expects natural rubber (NR) prices to trade “within a tight range” amid a third wave of Covid-19 in Europe and slower vaccine rollouts.
Prices look set to be supported by tighter supply due to Pestalotiopsis leaf disease, the wintering season and La Nina in some parts of the NR producing countries, according to MRB latest monthly digest.
Moreover, it noted recent Association of Natural Rubber Processing Countries (ANRPC) forecasts projecting world NR production to fall 12.4%, year-on-year, to 897,000 tonnes in February 2021.
Meantime, global NR consumption is forecast to recover by 47.5% year-on-year, to 1.103 million tonnes, the MRB further noted in its March digest.
Prices, it added, are expected to track the performance of ringgit, crude oil prices and regional rubber futures markets, with market players also monitoring the progress of US-China relations, worldwide economic recoveries and the global pandemic.
MRB went on to report plans by the Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) to raise the volume of VRG-branded natural rubber (NR) to nearly 323,600 tonnes – around 86% of total exploited output this year. The rate, it added, is expected to hit 92% by 2022.