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Latex exports rise, revenues fall

Latex exports rise, revenues fall

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A worker taps a rubber tree on a plantation in Ratanakkiri province in August 2012. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia's total rubber latex exports rose by 12 per cent in the first nine months of this year, according to new figures. However, revenues from the exports saw a dramatic 27 per cent decrease due to a fall in rubber prices in the international market, particularly in China.

An industry representative said the sharp decline in the price of rubber was mainly due to the Euro zone financial crisis, which hit the tyre industry very hard.

According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia exported 39,360 tonnes of rubber latex between January and September this year, up 12 per cent from 35,080 tonnes over the same period last year.

Meanwhile, revenues from the exports totalled US$116 million, down 27 per cent from $160 million last year.

Mak Kimhong, chairman of the Cambodia Rubber Plantation Industry, said demand has slowed since early this year, resulting in lower revenues across the industry.

“We mainly export to China where the market for the tyre industry is big,” he said. “Despite this, the crisis in Europe prompted a slowdown in demand for tyres.”

In Mak Kimhong’s view the decrease in the rubber price has not hurt the industry. “We are now selling rubber for around $2,800 per tonne,” he said adding that “We’ll keep making a profit unless the price falls below $1,000.”

According to prices in Malaysia, rubber latex (60 per cent dry rubber content) was selling for $1,868 per tonne yesterday, down 24 per cent compared with $2,476.50 a tonne at the same time last year.

Cambodia’s rubber is exported to Malaysia, Vietnam and China.

Ly Phalla, director general of the General Directorate of Rubber, could not be reached for comment.

He has, however, previously reported that the area used for planting rubber trees has increased 30 per cent per year, from 135,107 hectares in 2009 to 181,400 hectares in 2010 and last year saw an increase of 21 per cent.

About 45 per cent of the country’s crop comes from smallholder rubber producers, 29 per cent is produced on economic land concessions and 26 per cent comes from agro-industrial rubber plantations.

In 2010, only 20 per cent was actually harvested as the new crops need time to grow, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at [email protected]

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