WASHINGTON (April 15, 2009)—Global natural rubber production will be about 8.9 million metric tons this year, some 2.2 percent less than 2008 and the biggest drop since 1993, according to officials of the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries.
In Thailand alone, the world's largest NR producer claiming one-third of global output, production fell 13.9 percent in the first two months of 2009, the ANRPC told Reuters.
Last December, ANRPC members Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia—the three largest NR-producing countries—agreed to cut production by one-sixth, from 5.5 million to 4.6 million metric tons, in response to the global economic downturn and lower demand for tires.
The ANRPC projects Thai NR production in 2009 of 3.1 million metric tons, down from 3.09 million in 2008; Indonesian production of 2.6 million metric tons, down from 2.75 million; and Malaysian production of 1.02 million, down from 1.07 million.
Another ANRPC member, India, also projects lower output this year because of a severe drought, the association said.
“I think the reductions are a counterbalancing act, to address the reductions in consumer demand we'll see this year,” said a source close to the rubber trade who asked to remain anonymous.