KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (March 15, 2011)—World natural rubber markets remained volatile in the face of the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant disaster that struck northern Japan, although an organization of rubber-producing nations said it doesn't expect an appreciable affect on NR demand.
“The disaster is unlikely to have a noticeable impact on global economy, as Japan has not been a driver of the global recovery from the economic meltdown in 2008,” the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries in a press release issued from its Kuala Lumpur headquarters. “Moreover, the tsunami-hit region is far from Japan's economic hub, which is the area from Tokyo South to Osaka.”
“Japan accounts for 7 percent of the global demand for natural rubber,” the ANPRC said. “The closure of a handful of auto tire plants in the country's northeast region for a few days cannot impact on the commodity's global demand in a significant way.”
Meanwhile, NR prices have fallen by more than 20 percent on world markets in the past two weeks, though the latest market figures show them going up again.
March 15 prices on the Singapore Commodity Exchange show Technically Specified Rubber 20, or tire-grade rubber, at $4 per kilogram for June delivery, down from $5.18 per kilo March 2. Rubber Smoked Sheets 3 stood at $4.39 per kilo for June delivery today, compared with $6 per kilo March 2.
Nevertheless, RSS 3 traded 11 to 19 cents per kilo higher on March 15 than the previous trading day, according to the daily newsletter from RCMA Commodities Asia. TSR 20 traded 15 to 20 cents higher, RCMA said.