KUALA LUMPUR—World production of natural rubber registered a 4.6 percent year-on-year increase at 13.96 million metric tons in 2018, according to the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries.
Global demand for NR rose 5.2 percent to 14.01 million tonnes for the year, leading to a shortfall of 57,000 tons, ANRPC Secretary General Nguyen Ngoc Bich said.
The ANRPC noted "some recovery" in NR prices across physical and futures markets during December 2018.
"This rebound was timely to close the year of 2018 with a higher low of $1.50/kg average price of block and sheet rubber for the month of December 2018," the report said.
The ANRPC official expressed optimism that the easing of tension between China and the U.S. would have "promising results" in coming weeks. President Trump delayed the imposition of 25 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on Feb. 23. The goods, which have been under a 10 percent tariff order since September, include tires, rubber chemicals, manufactured rubber goods and synthetic and natural rubber.