Staff Reporter

KOCHI: Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA) says the tyre industry is facing the “worst ever raw material availability crisis” and has reiterated its demand for duty-free import of one lakh tonnes of natural rubber without delay.

A spokesman for ATMA said that despite 30 per cent increase in natural rubber production during the first four months of the current financial year there was serious crunch in the availability of natural rubber.“Currently, domestic natural rubber prices are ruling higher than even international price, said the statement.

It claimed that while consumption had gone up just 21 per cent, production of natural rubber during April-July had gone up 30 per cent. ATMA believes that rubber growers and traders are holding on to stocks in anticipation of higher prices.

The association went on to warn that if the supply crunch continued it would seriously disrupt production schedules of tyre companies.

The statement described the current demand-supply imbalance as “unfortunate”.