KUALA LUMPUR — World production of natural rubber grew 4.6 percent in 2018 to nearly 14 million metric tons, while global NR demand rose 5.2 percent to 14 million tonnes for the year, leading to a shortfall of 57,000 tons, according to the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC).
The ANRPC noted "some recovery" in NR prices during December across physical and futures markets.
"This rebound was timely to close the year of 2018 with a higher low of $1.50/kg average price of block and sheet rubber for the month of December 2018," the ANRPC said.
Recently Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand — collectively known as the International Tripartite Rubber Council — agreed to cut NR exports by a combined 200,000 to 300,000 metric tons to address the "prevailing depressed NR price level."
An ANRPC official expressed optimism that the easing of tension between China and the U.S. would have "promising results" in coming weeks.
President Trump delayed the imposition of 25-percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on Feb. 23. The goods, which have been under a 10-percent tariff order since September, include tires, rubber chemicals, manufactured rubber goods and synthetic and natural rubber.