LONDON (Jan. 20)—Global demand for natural rubber should grow again this year after falling off in 2001, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit Ltd. This year the market will benefit from the return of buyers that held off in anticipation of lower prices and tire makers that have run down rubber stocks, the EIU said in its latest world commodity forecasts for industrial raw materials. But the growth will be from a much lower base than previously anticipated, the London-based group said. Excluding a buoyant Chinese market, global consumption in the first six months of 2001 fell by 11 percent, including a 27-percent drop in North America. By contrast, China´s consumption of NR in the first half of 2001 was almost 30 percent than the prior year.