Kuala Lumpur – World production of natural rubber is ‘gradually returning’ to the pre-pandemic levels while demand is expected to further increase following ‘better than expected recovery’ in the US, UK and Europe.
During the month of June, NR production reached 1.05 million tonnes, on a par with pre-pandemic levels of 2019, said the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) in a 14 July monthly update.
“While some producing countries are in the midst of pandemic battle, the production seems not severely affected by the pandemic restriction measures as compared to a year ago,” the report added.
Total production for the second quarter of the year reached 2.87 million tonnes, 44,000 tonnes lower than ANRPC’s estimation earlier in the year.
Over the first half, supply recovered “closer to pre-pandemic level” of 6 million tonnes, ANRPC added.
Demand is now expected to increase 8.0% year-on-year to 13.890 million tonnes in 2021, up from ANRPC’s previous estimate of 6.7% annual growth to 13.680 million tonnes.
This is the second time ANRPC is revising up the demand outlook this year. In June, the association lifted its estimate marginally from 13,571 million tonnes to 13,680 million tonnes for the full year.
The improved outlook, ANRPC said, was due to a “better-than-expected recovery observed in rest of the world, namely the US, Europe and the UK.”
In June, the world consumed about 1.135 million tonnes of natural rubber, up 9.8% from 2020.
Second quarter demand rose 16.3% to 3.483 million tonnes, while the first half saw a 19.3% growth to 7.054 million tonnes.