The Rubber Board has lowered the natural rubber (NR) production outlook by nearly 10 per cent on account of an unprecedentedly intensive southwest monsoon and an abnormal leaf fall in traditional planting areas.

Addressing the 172nd meeting of the Rubber Board here on Wednesday, chairman Sheela Thomas said the NR production in the country during the current fiscal (2013-14) is likely to be 8,70,000 tonnes in place of the 9,60,000 tonnes projected earlier, denoting a fall of 9.37 per cent, amounting to 90,000 tonnes.

However, the extent of tapped area has shown a marginal increase, 5,04,000 ha in 2012-13 to 5,18,000 ha in 2013-14. Also, the heavy rain has resulted in a higher level of moisture content in the soil. These two factors could contribute to an increased level of production in the coming months. The projected closing stock of NR in 2013-14 is 2,70,000 tonnes, said the chairman.

Domestic production of NR during April-August 2013 is 2,65,000 tonnes, against a consumption level of 4,08,805 tonnes. Import and export of NR during April-August 2013 were 1,28,465 tonnes and 2,319 tonnes respectively.

Consumption of NR for the year 2013-14 is projected at 9,45,000 tonnes.

As per a report from the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), the world production of NR during April-August declined by 0.9 per cent, owing mainly to adverse weather conditions. The growth in NR consumption during the period was minimal, at 1.1 per cent. World economy is beset with challenges of economic recession and geopolitical concerns. As such, the present situation indicates that the NR market is likely to remain volatile, the chairman added.

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