KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (March 3, 2011)—Natural rubber production from member nations of the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries will rise 6 percent in the first quarter, following a 4.7-percent increase for all of 2010, according to the latest statistics.
The organization said NR output hit 9.32 million metric tons in 2010.
Rains in January and delayed wintering allowed Vietnam to tap rubber trees until the end of February, reported the ANRPC in its February edition of its newsletter, Natural Rubber Trends & Statistics. The wintering period for most of Indonesia, the organization said, won't occur until July.
The total rubber-tapping area in all ANRPC countries should grow by 494,000 acres this year, as young trees attain maturity, the newsletter said. Those trees, however, will have low yields because most Hevea trees don't reach peak latex yield until the 10th year after planting, it said.
ANRPC nations—Thailand, Malay-sia, India, China, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Cambodia, as well as Indonesia and Vietnam—have set a combined target for NR of more than 10 million tons for 2011. However, those figures are optimistic targets set by member governments assuming favorable growing conditions, the ANRPC said.
Meanwhile, currency fluctuations remain a volatile factor in NR pricing, with virtually all Southeast Asian currencies strengthening substantially against the U.S. dollar. The Malay-sian ringgit, in particular, hit a 13-year high against the dollar in February, the ANRPC said.
NR prices were softening the time the report was issued because of weak demand and the strength of the Japanese yen, the ANRPC said. Most observers, however, didn't expect the price downturn to last.
“Rubber's 15-percent slump in about a week may be the preludes to rallies to a record high, driving up the cost of everything from Michelin tires to surgical gloves,” RCMA Commodities Asia said in its Feb. 28 Rubber Update.