Sri Lanka rubber regains bounce

April 21, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan rubber prices have bounced back as demand picks up and tapping slows down during the off-season, industry officials said. “So rubber manufacturing companies have got new orders as a result of which they have to buy the natural rubber raw materials from producers.

“Also, supply is now lower as this is the leaf falling season when tapping is reduced.” Exports of raw rubber have increased but domestic manufacturing industries are still operating under capacity.

Rubber production in January and February 2009 was up 0.9 percent to an estimated 25.4 million kilos from a year ago but officials said it was too early to forecast annual output.

Wimal Rubasinghe, director-general of the Rubber Development Department, said production of natural rubber had been rising in recent years and hit 129.2 million kilos in 2008, up from 117.6 million kg in 2007.

Natural rubber production in the island had fallen to as low as 90.5 million kilos in 2002.

Rubasinghe said production is expected to trail off during the February-April off season when tapping is reduced.

“Today rubber prices are good. At this week’s aucti