Thailand to cut rubber exports next month 

  • TO GO WITH ‘THAILAND-COMMODITIES-ECONOMY-POLITICS-RUBBER’ by Apilaporn VECHAKIJ This picture taken at dawn on October 1, 2014 shows the white liquid sap of a rubber tree dropping into a container after the tree was bled at a rubber plantation in the Ka Po village of the southern Thai province of Phang Nga. As rubber prices slump, hard up farmers in Thailand — the world’s top producer of the commodity — are appealing for a bail out, testing the junta’s resolve to end populist policies and the kingdom’s entrenched subsidy culture. AFP PHOTO/Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT

Thailand will begin to curb exports of natural rubber next month in a bid to address declining global prices.

The cut is in response to the decision of  the International Tripartite Rubber Council (ITRC)–consisting of Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia–at the meeting in Thailand’s northern capital of Chiang Mai to restrict exports of natural rubber for a specific timeframe with the objective of addressing the current declining trend on natural rubber prices.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Luck Wajananawat said ITRC discussed concerns over falling prices and agreed to restrict their rubber exports by 350,000 tonnes in the first three months of next year.

He said beginning January next year, Thailand will lower export of natural rubber by 230,000 tonnes, Indonesia 95,000 tonnes and Malaysia 20,000 tonnes.

Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia produce nearly 70 percent of the world’s natural rubber.

Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Luck Wajananawat

Besides, the Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAOT) was also ordered by the government to indefinitely stop releasing its 140,000 tonnes rubber stocks into the market.

Government agencies are also urged to increase the use of natural rubber from 8% to 14%, Mr Luck said, adding that these measures were expected to shore up rubber price to 60 baht per kilo in global market from the current 40 baht.

Meanwhile, the Kasikorn Bank Research Centre forecast higher rubber price in the first quarter of next year due to demand from China for rubber to produce tyres.

In another development, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Grisda Boonrach has ordered the RAOT to conduct inventory checks of the remaining 140,000 tonnes of rubber held in government stockpiles to determine the locations where they are stored and their quality.

The minister said that the inventory check was intended to prevent allegations that some of the rubber in government stockpiles were quietly sold without authorization and replaced later on with new rubber.

He said members of the special team would accompany officials of the RAOT to carry out the inventory checks to make sure that rubber held in warehouses are not mixed with rubber to be bought to boost rubber prices.

The minister disclosed that the government had set aside a fund amounting to 60 billion baht to buy rubber of up to 200,000 tonnes for domestic use by governmental agencies in a bid to bolster rubber prices.