Asian natural rubber production falls 3 percent in 2014

The overall fall in rubber production was attributed primarily to low prices as farmers opted for more rewarding crops. "A plunge in prices overshadowed 2014. Producers across the region were caught unprepared and eventually lost considerable resilience to hold on to rubber as the main source of income hence opting for other agricultural activities," Sheela Thomas, secretary-general of ANRPC, said in the report. The report also noted the effect of the heavy rains, which caused the worst flooding in decades in the key rubber-growing areas of Malaysia and southern Thailand over the last two weeks of December. The rains was said to be a major reason for the weakness in the market. Of the nine member countries, six expect production in 2014 to be lower than in 2013. Thailand, the biggest producer, sees a fall of 4.1 percent year on year at about 4 million metric tons. The next largest producer, Indonesia, expects 2014 output to fall 2.6 percent year on year to 3.1 million metric tons. Vietnam, however, saw an increase in production. The third largest producer saw output rise 14.8 percent year on year to 1.1 million metric tons in 2014.
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