Vietnam Joins Council of World’s Top Rubber Producers
15 September 2017

By Reuters

Thailand’s agriculture minister said on Friday that Vietnam will join the International Tripartite Rubber Council (ITRC), representing the world’s top natural rubber producers, in an effort to ensure stability amid global price concerns.

The members of the ITRC – Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia – met and approved the move at a gathering in Bangkok this week, said Chatchai Sarikulya, Thailand’s agriculture minister. The original members already produce nearly 70 percent of the world’s natural rubber, and with Vietnam the council will account for almost 80 percent of global production.

“All three countries agreed on welcoming Vietnam as a member of the ITRC,” the minister said, speaking to reporters after a ministerial meeting. “Vietnam’s joining will increase ITRC’s capability in creating stability for the rubber industry.”

At last year’s meeting, the council agreed to cut exports by the world’s top three producers by 615,000 tonnes to stabilise prices. The council did not decide to curb exports on Friday, but Chatchai said the ITRC is closely monitoring rubber price trends and the measure remains an option.

“If prices drop to a concerning level, the measure (export curbs) might be necessary to boost prices,” Chatchai said, without giving more details.

Rubber prices, which have suffered in recent years from oversupply, surged late last year after floods in key growing regions, but have since largely subsided.

Officials expect rubber output from Thailand and Malaysia to decline this year due to low rubber prices and bad weather, including heavy rain and floods in northern Thailand.

(Reporting by Suphanida Thakral; Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell).