KUALA LUMPUR—The world production and consumption of natural rubber continued to rise over the month of April, reflecting a global recovery from COVID-19-induced declines last year.
NR production reached 903,000 metric tons during the month, up 22.5 percent from 737,000 reported last April, according to a monthly update by the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) on May 20.
China's production in March and April was lower than expected following an outbreak of white powder mildew disease found in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China's third biggest NR producing province after Hainan and Guangdong.
For the second quarter, the ANRPC expects production in some member countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka to be lower than the first three months of the year, due to potential COVID-19 lockdowns and plant diseases.
While Vietnam, China, Cambodia and the Philippines are anticipated to increase production, underlying factors such as an outbreak of plant diseases and the resurgence of COVID-19 might impact output, the ANRPC noted.
Demand for natural rubber rose 15.1 percent year-on-year to 1.129 million tons, reflecting a global economic recovery, particularly in China and the U.S.
Despite the extraordinary growth, ANRPC warned that resurgences of COVID-19 cases and the new waves of various variants in the world could create uncertainties in the global recovery of economy.