Thailand, other rubber producers 'ending export curbs'

Thailand, other rubber producers 'ending export curbs'

A rubber plantation in Soeng Sang district of Nakhon Ratchasima. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)
A rubber plantation in Soeng Sang district of Nakhon Ratchasima. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)

The world's top producers of natural rubber are not extending curbs on exports of the commodity, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Monday.

The International Tripartite Rubber Council (ITRC), which comprises Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, in March agreed to implement curbs on around 240,000 tonnes of rubber exports over four months in a bid to prop up prices for the commodity.

Indonesia and Malaysia have finished their part of the programme, formally known as the Agreed Export Tonnage Scheme (AETS), as they began implementing it on April 1.

Thailand, which started cutting exports from May 20, will finish in September.

The three countries account for around 70% of the world's natural rubber production.

The sources declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak with media.

Thailand's benchmark ribbed smoked rubber sheets rallied to a 20-month high in the first three weeks after the country started cutting exports, but they have since plunged by 25%.

Indonesia Rubber Association chairman Moenarji Soedargo, who attended the meeting last week, told Reuters that the extension of the export cuts was not discussed since "supply will be lower by itself" due to a disease attacking rubber plantations in parts of Indonesia. However, he did not specifically say the curbs would end.

Indonesia's natural rubber output this year is expected to drop by 15% due to a fungal disease that has hit rubber plants in some areas of Sumatra and Kalimantan islands.

Malaysian government officials were not immediately available for comment.

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