Pandemic-induced demand drives rubber price up

The growing demand for rubber products in the global market caused the price to increase up to K900 per pound in the domestic market, market data indicated. The growing demand of rubber gloves during the coronavirus pandemic, shortage of natural rubber, the appreciation of US dollar against Kyat are the reasons of price rise, said U Khaing Myint, secretary of Myanmar Rubber Planters and Producers Association (MRPPA).
The COVID-19 pandemic caused rubber price to drastically plunge to K350-500 per pound in early May, incurring financial hardships to the growers.
At present, the price reached the record high of K900 per pound during the pandemic on the back of strong demand by Thailand, said exporters.
Myanmar has exported about 200,000 tonnes of rubber worth around US$240 million in the last FY2019-2020. The export volume is possible to reach below 200,000 tonnes amid the COVID-19 impacts, MRPPA guessed.
Rubber is primarily produced in Mon and Kayin states and Taninthayi, Bago, and Yangon regions in Myanmar. There are over 1.6 million acres of rubber plantations in Myanmar, with Mon State accounting for about 500,000 acres, followed by Kayin State (270,000 acres). About 300,000 tonnes of rubber is produced annually across the country. Seventy per cent of rubber made in Myanmar goes to China. It is also shipped to Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Viet Nam, Korea, India, Japan, and other countries, according to the MRPPA.
At present, Myanmar is exporting only raw rubber sheets owing to lack of machinery and technology. Export rubber varieties include synthetic rubber, ribbed smoked sheet RSS 1, 3, 5, Myanmar Standard Rubber MSR-20, Technically Specified Rubber TSR-20, and Crepe Rubber.
About 150,000 tonnes of rubber worth $186 million was exported in the FY2017-2018. Myanmar shipped over 200,000 tonnes of rubber, with an estimated value of $250 million, to external markets in the FY2018-2019, an increase of 50,000 tonnes which helped boost earnings by over $60 million compared to the year-ago period, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce. — Ko Htet (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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