Natural rubber output falls 10% as dry weather lowers yield

Natural rubber production in India, the world’s fourth-biggest producer, declined 10 per cent last month after dry weather lowered yield in the main growing region boosted latex output, the state-owned Rubber Board said.

Production in May totaled 54,000 metric tonne, compared with 60,000 tonne a year earlier, Joseph Alexander, deputy director at the board said in a phone interview from Kottayam in Kerala, the nation’s biggest producer of the commodity.

“There was a drought-like situation in Kerala in April and May and that hurt yields,” Alexander said.

Output in the April-May period fell 9.4 per cent to 106,000 tonne, he said.

India plans to boost rubber production and demand this year as demand revives on rising car sales. Output and consumption may total 867,000 tonne and 875,000 tonne respectively in the year to March 31, 2010, the Rubber Board said in April.

Indian tyre makers more than doubled imports to 12,500 tonne last month as prices overseas were cheaper, said Alexander. Imports in the two months to May 30 were 20,500 tonne, compared with 10,800 tonne a year earlier, he said.

Exports slumped to 750 tonne in the first two months of the year started April 1 from 5,000 tonne a year ago. Stockpiles rose to 178,000 tonne at the end of May, compared with 150,000 tonne a year earlier, Alexander said.

India produced 855,000 tonne last year, up from 825,345 tonne a year ago and consumed 866,000 tonne, according to the board.



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