Rubber rising on glove and tyre demand
Thailand is likely to see higher shipments of rubber, increasing 3.19% this year, because of rising demand for rubber gloves and auto tyres, as well as the government's proactive approach to promote rubber exports.
Speaking after meeting on Thursday with the International Trade Promotion Department, Rubber Authority of Thailand and rubber cooperatives, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said Thailand's rubber products are expected to fetch 359 billion baht this year, 3.19% higher than 2019.
Natural rubber shipments are expected to drop by 5% to 122 billion baht by year-end.
"Global demand for rubber gloves and auto tyres keeps rising significantly because of the global economic recovery after lockdown measures to curb the virus are being relaxed," he said.
Prices of rubber sheet, block, and latex have all risen from the same period of last year.
As of Sept 30, domestic raw rubber sheet prices were quoted at 56 baht per kilogramme, up from 35-38 baht per kg year-on-year, while the free-on-board (FOB) rubber smoked sheet prices were 63.15 baht per kg, up from 41 baht last year.
In the first eight months, shipments of rubber products rose 2.32% year-on-year to 235 billion baht, while natural rubber exports decreased by 28.7% to 65.7 billion.
Thailand is the world's largest producer of natural rubber, making 4.8 million tonnes last year, with exports accounting for almost 4 million tonnes.
Thailand ranks fourth for exports of rubber products and processed rubber, trailing China, Germany and the US. Exports totalled US$11.2 billion last year, up 2%.
Key markets include the US, China, Japan, Asean and Australia, with automotive tyres accounting for 51% of the shipments, followed by synthetic rubber and rubber gloves at 19% and 11%, respectively.
The Commerce Ministry reported global demand for protective gloves is soaring in light of the pandemic, driving Thailand's rubber glove exports to surge 38.5% year-on-year in the first seven months of 2020 to $959 million.
Key markets include the US, China, Japan and Britain.
In 2019, Thailand produced more than 20 billion rubber gloves, with exports making up 89% of total production.
Last year Thailand fetched $1.2 billion from rubber glove exports. The country was the third largest rubber glove exporter, trailing Malaysia and China.
Mr Jurin said the government is also committed to promoting domestic rubber consumption to comprise as much as 20% of the country's production next year.
Sukatus Tarngwiriyakul, deputy governor of the Rubber Authority of Thailand, said the proportion of domestic rubber consumption is likely to stay at 16% this year, up from 15% last year, boosted mainly by the government's para-soil cement road construction in 45 provinces nationwide and rubber barriers and guideposts.