KUALA LUMPUR—The Malaysian Rubber Board expects natural rubber prices to trade "within a tight range" amid a third wave of COVID-19 in Europe and slower vaccine rollouts.
Prices look set to be supported by tighter supply due to Pestalotiopsis leaf disease, the wintering season and La Nina in some parts of the NR producing countries, according to MRB's latest monthly digest.
The Association of Natural Rubber Processing Countries forecasts world NR production to fall 12.4 percent, year-on-year, to 897,000 metric tons in February 2021.
Global NR consumption is expected to recover by 47.5 percent year-on-year, to 1.103 million tons, the MRB further noted in its March digest.
Prices are expected to track the performance of ringgit, crude oil prices and regional rubber futures markets, with market players also monitoring the progress of United States-China relations, worldwide economic recoveries and the global pandemic.
The Vietnam Rubber Group plans to raise the volume of VRG-branded natural rubber to nearly 323,600 tons—around 86 percent of total exploited output this year. The rate is expected to hit 92 percent by 2022.