KUALA LUMPUR — The growth in demand for and production of natural rubber is slipping, prompting the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) to revise downward its 2020 global outlook for natural rubber.
The association said it expects NR production to grow by 2.7% this year to 14.2 million metric tons, down from the previous estimate of 14.3 million tons announced in its annual market report on Jan. 31, after producers reported a 5.2% drop in production in the first two months of 2020.
Despite the drop, the ANRPC still expects global output to grow due to an expected expansion of total mature area within ANRPC member states.
The ANRPC also lowered its estimates for the the growth in demand for NR, expecting consumption to rise 1.2% to 13.8 million tons, compared with earlier estimates of 2.7% growth.
While the signing of the U.S.-China trade deals in mid-January renewed hopes for demand from China, the outbreak of coronavirus clouded expectations for the full year.
"The world consumption fell by 18.6% ... during the first two months of 2020 as China's manufacturing has been severely disrupted following the outbreak of COVID-19 epidemic," the ANRPC said in a March 9 market update.
The association also said it expects the world consumption outlook for 2020 to be revised down further in view of the COVID-19-related anticipated global economic slump.