Due to fall in production and rise in consumption, natural rubber (NR) imports to India increase by 35%.
For nine months, imports rise at 4,490,088 tonne from a year ago according to Rubber Board data. Rubber import stood at 4,790,670 tonnes in 2017-18.
Meanwhile, a decline of 8.5% at 479,000 tonnes is evident during the period.It was down by 8,000 tonnes from a year ago at 78,000 tonnes even for the usual peak production month of December.
However, rubber consumption rose 921,600 tonnes or a 13% increase for the ninth-month period. It is on its way to reach the 1.2 million tonnes targeted by the board.
On the other hand, production is expected to decrease due to the lean tapping season. Tapping usually comes to an end by January. But this time, although the yield is weak, tapping continues in places where it began late.
A rubber merchant in Kochi, N Radhakrishnan said “Tapping is happening in around 50% of the rubber areas even now. But demand from the tyre and non-tyre sector is sluggish as imports have gone up,”
He believes that prices may not improve in the next year since the largest consumer of rubber economy,China, is not in good shape. “The price support scheme of the state government, which assures Rs 150 per kg, is an incentive for the grower to continue tapping,” he said.
The trade in NR expects lesser output although the Rubber Board has targeted a production of 6,00,000 tonnes for the year. Both import and production are expected to be around 5.5 lakh tonnes.