Natural rubber (NR) production in the country has declined by 7.2 per cent for the month of April 2012, as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.
Production during the month stood at 52,700 tonne, as against 56,800 tonne in April 2011. The consumption of NR during April 2012 has decreased by 4.7 per cent to 80,500 tonne, as compared to 84,500 tonne, according to the provisional figures of the Rubber Board.
NR imports have registered a growth of 265 per cent in April to 17,509 tonne, as against 6518 tonne in the same month of last year. Meanwhile, exports have recorded a sharp fall at 755 tonne, as against 2,214 tonne in April 2011. According to the data, NR stocks as on April 30 were 226,000 tonne, as against 268,781 tonne in April 2011.
Natural rubber imports are likely to record new heights in the current financial year as in just one month 17,509 tonne was brought in. During 2011-12, the total imports were 205,433 tonne. As per the trend in April, imports may cross 250,000 tonne by March 2013, said a leading rubber dealer in Kochi.
The Rubber Board has projected the production and consumption of NR for the year 2012-13 to be at 942,000 tonne and 10,06,000 tonne respectively with a deficit of 64,000 tonne.
The rubber-consuming industry has the entitlement to import around 120,000 tonne through duty-free channels.Hence, imports are likely to increase this year as the local market has severe shortage in the case of quality sheet rubber (RSS-4 grade).