Thursday, October 10, 2013

ARC in progress, Growers seeks curbs, Consumers opposes

The sixth Annual Rubber Conference of the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries started at Galadari Hotel in Colombo. More than 119 representatives from eleven countries are participating in the Conference. Sri Lankan Plantation Industries Ministry sources said that the objectives of the conference is to improve productivity, reduce cost of production, promote value added rubber products, and generate additional revenue sources related to the rubber sector, encourage manufacturing economic friendly natural rubber products and enhance the sustainability of the natural rubber industry.

Replacement market will continue to be strong over the next couple of years.  Around 70.72 lakh passenger vehicles and nearly 19 lakh commercial vehicles have been added to the Indian roads during 2010-2012, whose tyres will be due for replacement in the near future.

Due to shortage and low production levels of natural rubber, tyre manufacturers have imported around 135,000 tonnes of rubber so far. Falling rubber prices have created panic among rubber growers who feel that import of rubber has worsened the situation and has urged the Union government to hike import duty and check duty-free imports. While addressing a rubber grower’s dharna before the head office of the Rubber Board at Kottayam, Jose K. Mani, MP, urged the government to ban import of rubber for at least a year to tide over the crisis. But Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA) clarified that the natural rubber being imported now was in fact contracted four to eight weeks ago when production dropped drastically in the country.

All India Rubber Industries Association and ATMA are strongly against this and demanded not to increase the duty and allow duty free import up to 200,000 tonnes during 2013-14. Even at higher prices, rubber was not available in the domestic markets and suggested import was a must for the survival of industries. Any hike in the natural rubber import duty will choke the growth of the industry, which was already passing through a difficult phase due to a slowdown in the auto industry.

Today, RSS4 grade closed at `.166.50 a kg at Kottayam, while RSS3 grade closed at `.156.66 a kg at Bangkok, Malaysian SMR20 closed at `.145.26 a kg.

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