Sri Lanka rubber meeting told to brace for fall in demand

May 13, 2009 (LBO) – Demand for natural rubber and rubber products will fall this year with the decline in sales of tyres and vehicles, a rubber expert told an international conference in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. But demand will recover next year or the year after as the global economy recovers although at a slower pace than previously forecast, said Gerard Stapleton of the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), a Singapore-based industry body.

Natural rubber consumption will rise in the long term while synthetic rubber demand will grow more slowly, he told the centennial rubber conference of the Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka Tuesday.

Stapleton, head of economics and statistics department of the IRSG, said the current global recession will be followed by a fairly rapid recovery of five percent by 2013 but that in the longer run another down turn was expected around 2018.

Demand for rubber and rubber products, which are crucial for Sri Lankan rubber products manufacturers and rubber growers, depends on the outlook for the vehicle and tyre sector, he said.

Demand for and production of passenger cars and commercial vehicles had slumped with the recession but would eventually recover, he