Based on preliminary estimates, world production of natural rubber (NR) again fell by 5.8%, year-on-year, in the first two months of 2019, amounting to 2.138 million tonnes, according to the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC).
It attributes this fall to the recent tropical storm in Thailand and early winter season of rubber trees observed across member countries. Another reason for this production decline was the outbreak of a new, serious fungal leaf-fall disease, probably caused by Pestalotiopsis sp., in rubber growing areas in Sumatra.
World demand for NR has marginally decreased by 3,000 tonnes to 2.173 million tonnes during the same reference period.
Despite worries over the slowdown in China’s economy and the concern for global economic growth, the rubber market has been backed by the sentiments over ongoing trade deals between China and the USA and the Federal Reserve’s decision to not change the interest rate in February 2019.
In addition, the International Tripartite Rubber Council’s sixth Agreed Exports Tonnage Scheme (AETS) to curb exports in the coming months and the development in the crude oil market from the commitment of cut by OPEC have also extended the support of the price rallies observed in physical and the future rubber market during February 2019.