The end of export restrictions in Thailand and a lowering of economic growth forecasts out of top rubber importers China, the United States and Germany have caused natural rubber prices around Asia − and in Cambodia’s local industry − to fall from a two-month high.
Future prices dipped 3.9 per cent to $2,550 per tonne last week on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, about 23 per cent lower than this year’s peak in February.
Shanghai’s rubber prices also declined about three per cent.
Men Sopheak, deputy director-general of the Chop Rubber Plantation, a large rubber exporter in Cambodia, told the Post that movements on the international stage are being felt in his own backyard.
Normally he sells rubber for $2,600 per tonne. The price dropped to $2,570 yesterday.
“We saw the decreasing trend of the rubber price in the international market, and that could affect the local Cambodia market as well”, said Sopheak, who has customers abroad in Malaysia, China and European countries.
Government officials, however, chalked up the decline to a seasonal dip that did not pose a huge threat to the local market over the long term.
Ly Phalla, the director general of the Rubber Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said yesterday that the price change would not put a dent in the aimed-for goal of an annual 25 per cent increase in rubber exports from Cambodia.
“Our export [of rubber] increases at a steady pace, and we have been supplying to China, Japan and even other exporters, such as Vietnam”, he said.
In late April, the Post reported that new countries entering the market resulted in a decline in prices.
But Phalla said that authorities were confident in the local market’s ability to stay competitive amid the more crowded sector.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY REUTERS