1.      The Senior Officials in-charge of the rubber industry from Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia (TIM) met at the 34th ITRC Meeting on 22 – 23 September 2020. The meeting deliberated in details on the current global natural rubber (NR) market situation as well as the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the rubber sector.

2.      The meeting among other deliberated and discussed measures to improve NR prices and addressed factors influencing price movement which has directly impacted the income and the well-being of rubber smallholders in the rubber producing countries particularly in TIM.

3.      ITRC expected a decrease in the production of NR for the rest of 2020 and further decline into early 2021. The decline in production of NR is attributed by erratic weather, declining in tapping activities due to COVID-19 pandemic and Pestalotiopsis leaf fall disease. Furthermore, ITRC projected that the NR supply would be further constrained by the shortage of tappers in Thailand and Malaysia. Moreover, the wintering season in South Sumatera in Southern Hemisphere also contributed to the decline of NR production.

4.      Consumption is expected to increase as China, the biggest consumer of NR, accelerates its economic activities post COVID-19 lockdown. The Government of China has been encouraging its domestic automobile sector leading to the increase of compounded and mixtures rubber imports from TIM.

5.      The export data for TIM’s of Compounded and mixtures rubber to China for the first 7 months of 2020 (January – July) showed an increase of 405,473 MT as compared to the same period in 2019. Furthermore, the export was projected to increase to a total of 700,000 MT for the whole 2020. On top of that, NR production in ITRC Member Countries for 2020 was estimated to decrease at least 859,000 MT from 8.793 million MT in 2019.

6.      TIM viewed that the increasing demand for NR latex for dipped products, particularly gloves which are used in Medical and Health Sector would continue to record a strong demand and strengthen NR prices.

7.      ITRC Member Countries pledged to implement relevant measures with the objective of ensuring the well-being of rubber smallholders. ITRC strongly believes that a fair and remunerative price levels will benefit all stakeholders in the NR industry, in particular for rubber smallholders. 

23 September 2020