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RUBBER NEWS INT'L: Natural Rubber production, consumption up in first two months of 2018
(Last Updated: 27 Mar 2018)



Natural Rubber production, consumption up in first two months of 2018


—Natural  production and consumption registered year-on-year growth in the first two months of 2018, according to the Association of Natural Producing Countries.

Production rose 4.3 percent to 2.2 million metric tons, while demand grew 7.5 percent year-on-year to 2.0 million tons for the period, the  said March 22.

During the first two weeks of February, the association said, NR prices across the key physical markets were hit by a fall in , strengthening of the and global equity market trends.

“Nevertheless, the NR prices showed (signs) of improvement and posted an upward trend in price toward the end of February 2018,” ANRPC said.   

The improvements, ANRPC said, reflect recovery in both crude  and global equity markets.

The association went on to predict a slowing of NR production throughout the coming months, citing the seasonal rubber tree ‘leaf-fall period’ in most of member countries as the driving factor.

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Malaysia: Natural rubber production falls


: Natural  fell 2.0 per cent in January 2018 to 65,792 tonnes from 67,101 tonnes produced in the previous month, said the Department of Statistics on Wednesday.

Stocks rose 10.5 per cent to 254,525 tonnes at the end of January compared to 230,300 tonnes in the preceding month.

The smallholdings sector accounted for more than 92.9 per cent of the rubber produced in January, said the department in a statement today.

Exports in the month under review decreased 9.7 per cent to 46,928 tonnes and the five main destinations for Malaysia’s natural rubber were , Iran,  and .


Meanwhile, domestic consumption of natural rubber increased 1.6 per cent to 44,302 tonnes in January versus 43,617 tonnes consumed in the previous month.

In terms of rubber usage, the rubber glove industry accounted for 74.2 per cent followed by rubber threads (9.4 per cent), tyres and tubes (6.4 per cent) and others (10.0 per cent). – Bernama



Thailand to issue $1bn bonds to help cut rubber supply


Funds will compensate farmers and support prices, says agriculture minister


BANGKOK — The Thai government plans to issue bonds to raise roughly 30 billion baht ($963 million) to fund projects aimed at cutting an oversupply of  and to prop up the price of the commodity.

Thailand to issue bn bonds to help cut rubber supply

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Thailand is the world\’s biggest rubber producing country and the agriculture ministry is trying to make the industry more sustainable (Getty Images)

The Ministry of Agriculture plans to cut annual supply by as much as 1 million tons to 3.3 million tons before year-end, the minister of the department Grisada Boonrach told the Nikkei Asian Review.

“We aim to raise around 30 billion baht from the bond to be used as compensation to farmers to encourage them to reduce supply and to be used as initial capital for the Rubber Authority of Thailand to operate its business,” said Grisada.

The ministry is planning to inject part of the funds raised from the bond issuance into the rubber authority. This will boost the ability of government institutions to lend to farmers.

The rubber authority oversees the industry and this involves regulating plantations, teaching farmers techniques to increase yield and intervention in the market if necessary. The agriculture ministry is in discussions with the finance department over the process of bond issuance and the two are expected to reach a conclusion soon, Grisada said.

To cut oversupply and to support , the government previously compensated farmers who were encouraged to cut down  in an area of around 64,000 hectares.

But that failed to prop up rubber prices. The agriculture ministry sees the need for more comprehensive measures that would make rubber plantation more sustainable. Thailand is the world\’s biggest rubber producing country.

The price of unsmoked , which farmers sell to rubber factories, had fallen to 48 baht per kilogram, from a record high of 180 baht per kilogram in 2011. The target now is to push prices up to 80 baht.

High prices then prompted farmers, not only in Thailand but also in Cambodia, India and , to grow more rubber trees. Such expansion resulted in massive oversupply that has pressured prices until today.

In the past few years, falling prices had ignited sporadic protests among farmers. But the current junta has set a clear policy of not compensating farmers directly in order to avoid expectations for financial assistance whenever prices fall. The junta\’s stance is that easy give-aways could prevent farmers from improving their operations such as by cutting costs.

“We aim to figure out the business model for [the rubber authority] by late March or early  and we would see how we can generate profits to be used as … compensation to farmers to encourage them to cut rubber supply,” said Grisada.


Malaysia’s rubber paint a first in the world

|     Kurniawati Kamarudin     |

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – When it comes to choosing painting media, we tend to think of watercolour, acrylic or oil paint.

Malaysia is now coming up with another painting medium called natural rubber-based paint, and it is a first in the world.

Named ‘Getah Colour’ (patent pending), the innovative product is by the Malaysian Rubber Board and set to become the world’s newest painting medium for visual arts.

High Potential

With 30 per cent of its composition comprising natural latex, natural rubber-based paint is more environmentally friendly when compared with acrylic paint, which is petroleum-based. Oil paint, meanwhile, could be a potential health hazard, said the Malaysian Rubber Board Director General Datuk Dr Zairossani Mohd Nor.

Although it might be slightly different from acrylic, watercolour or oil colour, natural rubber-based paint do come with several benefits that makes it ideal as a learning medium for school children and amateurs.

An example of the natural rubber-based ‘Getah Colour’ paint that only takes a couple of minutes to dry for every drawing. – PHOTOS: BERNAMA
Dr Zairossani Mohd Nor, Director General of the Malaysian Rubber Board, showing some of the art works that use the ‘Getah Colour’ paint in his office
Ahmad Suhaime Nordin, a Malaysian Rubber Board in-house artist, demonstrating using the ‘Getah Colour’ paint to create a drawing

Among the advantages of rubber paint is that it dries faster compared with watercolour but slower than acrylic, which benefits even professional artists as it provides more room for flexibility and expression in their work.

“The rubber-based paint becomes waterproof when it dries and this helps the artwork to last longer. It is also easier to wash off the hands after use. “As a natural polymer, the natural rubber latex needs to be added with other ingredients in order to achieve a suitable viscosity to prevent it from coagulating while brushing,” he told Bernama when interviewed recently.

He acknowledged that it might take time for natural rubber-based paint to be accepted by professional artists worldwide, as was the case when acrylic was first introduced.

Historically, it was only slightly over fifty years ago that critiques began to recognise and accept acrylic as a painting medium, and Zairossani predicted that rubber paint would probably chart a similar course.

Expand the usage of natural latex

Programme head Dr Asrul Mustafa said the research into making natural rubber-based paint was part of an initiative to increase the use of the most advanced natural latex to produce high value products such as gloves.

The initial stage of the research was to expand on production in the construction industry and manufacture a paint for residential and industrial use.

“The research bore positive outcomes and so we decided to expand its usage for visual arts and artistic education, which has a wider potential,” he said.

This would ensure that natural latex retains its position as one of the national commodities necessary for the country’s growth and in the quest towards National Transformation 2050 (TN50), said Asrul.

He believed the innovation would inculcate interest not only in visual arts but in elastomeric science and technology as well.

Collaborating with the visual arts gallery

Asrul, who has been involved with the research from the beginning, said that it took them a number of prototypes to achieve the most optimal formula for the rubber-based paint.

Creating a paint or colouring medium requires three basic components – namely the pigment, the thickening agent and the binding agent.

The difference between natural rubber-based paint and acrylic paint was that the former uses natural latex as a binding agent while the latter uses petroleum, he said.

“Although this innovation is not exactly high-tech, in the long-term it can benefit us a lot, especially in ensuring the national commodity remains relevant until 2050,” he said.

The Malaysian Rubber Board is collaborating with local paint companies to produce the paint on a large scale and in accordance to the stipulated standards and specifications.

In addition to that, the board is also collaborating with the National Visual Arts Gallery on a two-week exhibition of artworks made using natural rubber-based paint in May this year.

It will feature 88 pieces from 17 artists, including two from Singapore and Myanmar.

“We are hoping that the exhibition will serve to promote the usage of rubber paint locally and internationally,” he said.

Unique characteristics

Ahmad Suhaime Nordin, a Malaysian Rubber Board in-house artist who has spent some time working with Getah Colour, said there were several key characteristics of rubber paint. One in particular was the glossy finish.

He believed that natural rubber paint, currently available in 12 colours, has characteristics absent in acrylic and oil paint.

“Although the colours produced are quite similar, usage techniques may differ.

“Acrylic has a transparent quality to it while rubber paint does not. We have to manipulate this quality to our advantage for the best results,” he said.

Ahmad Suhaime has produced more than 10 art pieces using natural rubber-based paint, some of which has already been sold.

“When I tell people that the medium used was made out of natural rubber, many became interested and want to learn more. From there, I can see that with the right promotion and enough exposure, there will be a huge market potential for rubber paint,” he said.


Malaysia: Exports of natural rubber, rubber-based products jump 30%

 KUALA LUMPUR: The natural  and -based products were the ‘stars’ in 2017, with export up 30.2% to RM32.3bil, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.

He said the other commodities, such as palm , also performed reasonable well, increasing by 14.6 % to RM77.8 bil.

“The palm oil export has surpassed our initial target of RM70 bil last year and for 2018, we are confident of achieving over RM80 bil,” he told Bernama.

The total export earnings of commodity products amounted to RM140.3bil, or 15% of Malaysia’s total merchandise export, 14.4% higher than RM122.6 bil in 2016.




Mah said although the palm oil and palm-based products recorded a positive number, only 10% of the trees has been utilised.

“We are going into more value-added products, including the oleochemical products and pharmaceuticals, with the aim to increase the palm oil consumption.

“The commodity has got big future in the country and we are seriously looking into it,” he said, adding that currently there were companies that were ready to exploit the biomass industry in Malaysia.

In his commentary in one of the local newspapers last month, Mah said the fronds, trunks, empty fruit bunches and palm kernel shell were biomass from palm oil output that most Malaysians were unfamiliar with.

Hence, many were also unaware of the vast opportunities to turn palm biomass into wealth, he said.

The ministry welcomed industrial players who would put big money into research and development in the field, he said.

Yesterday, the minister received a visit from British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Vicki Treadell, where both discussed the proposed European Union () Parliament’s move to remove palm oil from biofuels mix by 2021.

They also talked about the future cooperation between Malaysia and the UK, especially in exploring the development of palm oil-based high value-added downstream products to create new economic opportunities.

Mah is scheduled to lead a Malaysian delegation to  for the Malaysia-EU Palm Oil Consultation starting Saturday.

The mission aims to negotiate with members of the tripartite consultation from influential countries to seek their support and state Malaysia’s firm stand against the injustice done to the palm industry.

Besides several EU commissioners and policymakers, the delegation will also meet government representatives of Germany, UK, , Spain, , and Poland.

— Bernama


Thailand asks farmers to cut down rubber trees to boost prices

 Rare measure targets 64,000 hectares to reduce supply by 5% in first quarter


Thailand asks farmers to cut down rubber trees to boost prices

 tree farmer at his plantation in Thailand\’s southern Nakhon Si Thammarat Province. The current price of  has fallen well below the record high of $6.00 a kilogram in 2011. © Reuters


BANGKOK — Thailand, the world\’s largest rubber producer and exporter, has launched a program to encourage farmers to cut down  earlier than the 25-year life cycle to reduce total annual output by 5% by the end of April, in a bid to support falling rubber prices.

To reach the target, the Thai government has earmarked 80 billion baht ($2.5 billion) to compensate those who participate in the program, which is not mandatory.

Thailand has previously used similar “cut-down” measures in coordination with and Malaysia, the second- and third-biggest rubber producers in the world, respectively, but the policies were backed up only by verbal interventions, rather than specific action, and failed to have a major impact on prices.

In the latest move, introduced last month, Bangkok has decided to implement the program on its own, targeting an area of 400,000 rai, or 64,000 hectares — much larger in scale compared with the past attempts jointly conducted by the three countries.

Narongsak Jaisamut, director of the Rubber Authority of Thailand\’s Production Development Department told the Nikkei Asian Review on Wednesday that the government will offer farmers 4,000 baht per rai (or 0.16 hectare) to rev up the plan to cut down rubber trees.

“We target to cut as much as 50% of 400,000 rai a year by the first quarter of this year. That would help cut supply by 5% and should help support price,” Narongsak said.

An excessive supply of rubber at a time when global consumption has been weak has dragged down the price of benchmark export grade rubber sheet to around $1.70 a kilogram on Wednesday.

That price is well below the record high of $6.00 a kilogram in 2011, and  has forced farmers to demand government support.

The government also plans to spend an additional 3 billion baht to pay farmers to cut down rubbers trees covering an additional 300,000 rai, or 48,000 hectares, by the end of this year. However, that plan has yet to be approved by the Thai cabinet, according to an official at the Rubber Authority of Thailand.

Narongsak said the additional measure is expected to cut rubber supply by 20% this year and help support prices.

Thailand is forecast this year to have an area of 20.2 million rai, or 3.232 million hectares, of rubber plantations, which could produce 4.9 million tons of rubber. That is up from 19.2 million rai and 4.5 million tons of  in 2017, according to data from Thailand\’s Agriculture Ministry.

Apart from the measure to cut down rubber trees, the government is promoting their use in other ways in order to help create added value. In the past, the government encouraged farmers to grow rubber trees specifically for the rubber latex.

The Rubber Authority of Thailand has encouraged private companies, particularly from Japan, where the government is promoting biomass power plants, to import pellets to be used as raw material for these plants. A Japanese power plant operator, Idemitsu Kosan, recently approached the Rubber Authority of Thailand to import rubber pellets.

Thailand is forecast to produce around 8 million tons of rubber pellets a year from the proposed plan to axe rubber trees nationwide, and from another government plan to secure demand for rubber pellets by signing a memorandum of understanding with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, or EGAT.

According to the memorandum of understanding, EGAT plans to build biomass power plants across the country, with an expected combined power generating capacity of 600 megawatts by 2020.

“Each biomass power plant has a power generating capacity of around 10 megawatts, and EGAT planned to start building the first biomass power plant in [Thailand\’s northeast] Bueng Kan province,” Narongsak said.



Ivory Coast 2017 rubber exports up 31 pct

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