KUALA LUMPUR (Feb. 29, 2012)—Total natural rubber production from the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries' 11 member nations will reach 10.5 million tons in 2012, 200,000 more than in 2011, the ANRPC said in the February edition of its monthly bulletin, Natural Rubber Trends and Statistics.
Both the 2011 and 2012 figures are revised upward from January, based on upward revisions of production figures from member countries, according to the February report.
“Economic trends have finally taken a gradual turn in favor of natural rubber,” said ANRPC Secretary-General Kamarul Baharain Basir in an opening letter in the bulletin.
A number of factors are making NR's future look brighter, according to Basir. These include pro-growth policies in China and India, combined with slower inflation in both countries; a seasonal shortage of NR supply; a rise in crude oil prices; and the depreciation of the Japanese yen against the appreciation of the currencies of NR-producing countries, he said.
Despite the increase in NR production, there will be a 3.4-percent drop in total NR exports in this year's first quarter, compared with the same period last year, the bulletin said. Continuing high levels of NR stock in China are to blame, it said. However, Chinese stocks are expected to fall to 250,000 tons by the end of March 2012 from the 356,000 recorded at the end of December 2011. That plus a shift in Chinese industrial policy could bring exports out of the doldrums in the second quarter, the ANRPC said.
ANRPC member countries are Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Together they account for about 93 percent of the world's natural rubber production, according to the organization.