Asian rubber cartel cuts production to boost prices

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BANGKOK, Aug 17 – Thai Deputy Agriculture Minister Natthawut Saikua said Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia agreed to slash their rubber export volume and reduce rubber plantations in an attempt to shore up sagging prices.

The measures were jointly agreed at the International Rubber Consortium meeting in which the world’s three largest rubber producers are the members.

The three countries are responsible for about 70 per cent of global natural rubber supply.

Rubber prices plunged 43 per cent in the past year and reached the lowest in almost three years as growth slowed in China, the top consumer, and Europe.

They agreed to cut their rubber export volume by 300,000 tonnes and cut down aging rubber trees covering 100,000 rai of plantations, the deputy minister said.

Thailand, the top shipper, would cut export volume by 150,000 tonnes, the largest reduction among the three countries. Rubber farmers will get 16,000 baht per rai in compensation, Mr Nattawut said.

“It remains to be seen how the measures will help shore up prices,” he said. “If the measures fail to lift the prices, then more measures will be considered.”