Natural rubber production likely to fall due to poor demand with the impact of Coronavirus continuing to be felt.
Coronavirus Hits Natural Rubber Production
The Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) has said that it expects global rubber production to fall by close to 5 per cent in 2020. The main cause is the drop in demand from the automotive sector.
There may have been an increase in the use of rubber for gloves during the pandemic, but that does not make up for the drop in demand from the tyre manufacturers or automakers.
“The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has put the world rubber industry into one of the worst crises in the past few decades and has pushed the stakeholders in the whole value-chain into chaos,” R. B. Premadasa, secretary-general of the association said in a statement.
ANRPC expects Indonesia’s rubber output to drop 12.6% to 2.9 million tonnes in 2020, while No. 1 producer Thailand will see production fall by 0.9%.
As a result, it expects global production to fall by 4.7% to 13.13 million tonnes this year. At the beginning of the year, it forecast 3.8% and 2.7% rises in production and consumption, respectively. Now it sees demand falling by 6% to 12.904 million tonnes.
Natural rubber imports by China, the world’s biggest consumer, could fall by 5.1% from a year ago to 4.8 million tonnes, it said, while demand in India – the No. 2 consumer and also a major producer of rubber – is set to plunge by 21.3% due in part to a lockdown of its car industry during the pandemic.
If demand for NR falls dramatically, this will also impact on the demand for reclaim and devulcanised rubber. The drop may be temporary but it piles concern on top of concern for the tyre recycling sector that is already facing challenges in finding markets for end of life tyres.