SINGAPORE—The International Rubber Study Group expects a sharp rebound in world rubber demand in 2021 following a strong recovery in global economies.
In its July edition of World Rubber Industry Outlook, the Singapore-based organization said it anticipated total rubber demand to rebound 7.4 percent year-on-year in 2021 and moderate to 4.7 percent in 2022.
Last year, the global rubber demand declined by 6 percent to 27.07 million metric tons, 1.1 percentage point smaller than IRSG's earlier projection.
IRSG attributed the smaller contraction to a "strong recovery" in the second half of 2020 in the advanced economies and China.
For 2021, the organization expects demand in the tire sector to recover by 7.2 percent from a deeper contraction of 7.3 percent experienced in 2020.
A stronger 7.6 percent recovery is projected for the non-tire sector, which will be driven by continued surge in demand from the health care industry and mobility supply chain.
IRSG also anticipates the global natural rubber consumption to rebound by 7.1 percent this year, recovering from a 6.8 percent decline in 2020 to 12.7 million tons.
The world synthetic rubber demand declined by 5.3 percent, reaching 14.4 million tons in 2020. It is forecast to recover by 7.6 percent in 2021, supported by stronger growth in the U.S., Europe, and emerging markets in Asia.
World NR production declined by 5.1 percent in 2020, reaching 13 million tons.
According to the IRSG, tapping days were lost due to extreme weather, spread of leaf fall disease and a labor shortage during the pandemic crisis.
Furthermore, IRSG expects a lower rate of total planting to have an impact on the medium- and longer-term supply.
Total NR production this year is forecast to rebound by 6.5 percent, approaching 13.9 million tons and exceeding the pre-pandemic 2019 level. NR production growth will moderate to 3.5 percent in 2022.