Kuala Lumpur – An acute short supply, high demand from the glove manufacturing industry, and issues associated with the supply of nitrile have made NR latex prices substantially high, particularly in the second half of February, according to the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC).
Latex rubber supply was ‘abnormally low’ during the month of February, due to high demand from the rubber gloves industry, said a 4 March market intelligence report by ANRPC
“Rubber glove manufacturers are reportedly struggling to deliver the huge orders of rubber gloves they had committed about 6 months earlier,” the report noted.
Also contributing to the shortage was China’s total lay-off of harvesting during the month, resulting in no domestic production of natural rubber in the country.
“The situation compelled the glove manufacturing companies in China to source their entire demand for NR latex from overseas by offering higher prices,” the ANRPC noted.
In addition, higher crude oil prices and the supply disruptions in the petrochemical industry world over made nitrile more expensive and less attractive to the glove manufacturing industry.
According to ANRPC, the Kuala Lumpur local market saw NR latex prices jump 21.7% within the few days between 15 and 26 February 2021.
Furthermore, the spike in latex prices permeated into other forms of NR as farmers converted to selling the produce in the form of fresh latex instead of disposing in the form of cup-lump or sheets.