Malaysian exports of rubber products this year is expected to increase 2.7% year-on-year to RM15 billion backed by a growing demand in newer markets like Asia, Middle East and Africa.
This year will mark a turnaround after three difficult years from 2010-2013 for the rubber products industry when the exports grew at a snail’s pace amid low demand due to the increase in prices of rubber products.
“While there was a hike in prices of rubber products, some of our importers had stalled their demand. Though, with increasing demand for these products in many sectors other than health, they cannot postpone it for long,” said Supermax Corp Bhd director Denis Low yesterday in Petaling Jaya.
Malaysia’s total exports of rubber products recorded a slight increase from RM14.53 billion in 2012 to RM14.68 billion in 2013. The industry was impacted largely by slackening exports growth as domestic demand for the rubber products, especially gloves, is small.
While speaking at the announcement of the 7th International Rubber Glove Conference and Exhibition (IRGCE), Low said the US and Europe have been the largest importers of rubber products but the growing health sector in the developing nations is leading the demand.
Malaysia has been the largest supplier of rubber products, especially gloves, to 120 countries around the world.
The healthcare industry is expected to be valued at RM9 trillion in 2015 with global demand for rubber gloves is estimated to increase 6% this year.
“This year we are expecting to export RM12 billion worth of rubber gloves. This is over 75% of the total rubber products exports for the year,” said organising chairman of the IRGCE, Lee Kim Meow.
Malaysia exported RM10.5 billion worth of rubber gloves in 2013, slightly above the RM10.4 billion figure in 2012.
The country is expected to maintain its dominance in the global gloves market with a 63% global market share.
IRGCE is a bi-yearly event and the theme of this year’s event to be held from Sept 2-4 is “Beyond Just Infection Control”. The event is expected to draw 500 participants and 3,000 trade visitors.
Among key sponsors for the event are Excelcos Sdn Bhd, Hartalega Holdings Bhd, Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd, Latexx Partners Bhd, Smart Glove Corp Sdn Bhd, Supermax Corp, Top Glove Corp Bhd, WRP Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd and YTY Industry Sdn Bhd. All the key sponsors signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday with the Malaysian Rubber Gloves Manufacturers Association.