KUALA LUMPUR—The world production of natural rubber is gradually returning to pre-pandemic levels while demand is expected to further increase following better than expected recovery in the U.S., U.K. and Europe.
During the month of June, NR production reached 1.05 million metric tons, on a par with pre-pandemic levels of 2019, the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries said in a July 14 monthly update.
"While some producing countries are in the midst of pandemic battle, the production seems not severely affected by the pandemic restriction measures as compared to a year ago," the report said.
Total production for the second quarter of the year reached 2.87 million tons, 44,000 tons lower than ANRPC's estimation earlier in the year.
Over the first half, supply recovered "closer to pre-pandemic level" of 6 million tons, ANRPC added.
Demand now is expected to increase 8.0 percent year-on-year to 13.89 million tons in 2021, up from ANRPC's previous estimate of 6.7 percent annual growth to 13.680 million tons.
This is the second time ANRPC is revising up the demand outlook this year. In June, the association lifted its estimate marginally from 13.57 million tons to 13.680 million tons for the full year.
The improved outlook, ANRPC said, was due to a better-than-expected recovery observed in rest of the world, namely the U.S., Europe and the U.K.
In June, the world consumed about 1.135 million tons of natural rubber, up 9.8 percent from 2020.
Second quarter demand rose 16.3 percent to 3.48 million tons, while the first half saw a 19.3 percent growth to 7.05 million tons.