Natural rubber production, which dropped last year, has recovered and increased 15 per cent in April.

Fuelled by good summer showers in late March and early April, rubber production increased to 59,500 tonnes in April, up from 51,520 tonnes during the same period a year ago, sources in the Rubber Board said.

The relatively higher domestic production, high international prices and sufficient stocks available ensured that rubber imports were down by over 40 per cent in April. Exports also slackened in the first month of the current fiscal.

Rubber stocks were up at 2,34,740 tonnes against 1,84,140 tonnes last year.

Going by the good spell of summer showers and prognosis of a bounteous monsoon, the Rubber Board is optimistic that production will be higher this year.

Major incentive

The prevalent high domestic and global natural rubber prices have also proved to be a major incentive for the farmers to maximise the yield – a trend which the Rubber Board expects to prevail throughout 2010-11.

Last fiscal, rubber production slipped 3.8 per cent to 8,31,400 tonnes while consumption increased 6.8 per cent to 9,30,565 tonnes.

Accelerated imports which grew 119.5 per cent during 2009-10 to 1,70,679 tonnes helped bridge the demand-supply mismatch.

Exports, meanwhile, had slackened by 47.8 per cent to 24,515 tonnes.

Domestic production shortfalls coupled with firm global price trends ensured that rubber prices in the domestic market continued to reign high, with the annual closing prices hovering close to Rs 150 a kg.

The estimates for the current year forecasts production to spurt by 7.4 per cent to 8,93,000 tonnes.

Consumption to grow

Consumption is expected to grow more moderately by five per cent to 9,78,000 tonnes.

The increase in rubber consumption during 2010 was mainly due to increased demand from the tyre sector which the Rubber Board expected to continue into this year as well.


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