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Natural rubber exports retain bounce during Covid-19 crisis

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The Kingdom exported 18,604 tonnes of natural rubber to the international market last month, up 58 per cent from 11,751 tonnes in March. POST STAFF

Natural rubber exports retain bounce during Covid-19 crisis

Cambodia exported $22.17 million worth of natural rubber to the international market last month, gaining 6.3 per cent over April 2019’s $20.85 million, said a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries report.

By volume, the exports increased 21.73 per cent from 15,282 tonnes in April last year to last month’s 18,604 tonnes, at an average per-tonne value of $1,192, down 12.67 per cent year-on-year from $1,365, it said.

Pol Sopha, the director-general of the ministry’s General Directorate of Rubber, told The Post on Tuesday that natural rubber exports had avoided the worst of the pandemic, which has led to a global economic crisis and has disrupted the supply chains of commodities around the world.

The volume of the Kingdom’s natural rubber exports increased 58 per cent from 11,751 tonnes in March, he said, noting that prices on the international market have tumbled.

“The value of our exports has been rising because of our high volume of production,” said Sopha.

The demand for natural rubber on the international market will continue to grow through 2024-2025, he said, citing an undisclosed “expert study”. Exports are expected to grow until 2025, as rubber cultivation area in the Kingdom continues to expand.

In March, the government reduced taxes on rubber exports to minimise the impact of international price shocks.

A sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday stipulates that exports of rubber valued under $1,400 per tonne are not taxable. Shipments valued between $1,400 and $3,500 per tonne will be taxed $25 to $200 per tonne.

Latex prices will continue to decline to next year, said a report by Research and Markets. China consumes the most natural rubber in the world or 41 per cent of the global total.

Last year, Cambodia exported 282,071 tonnes of natural rubber worth $377 million, a 30 per cent increase over 2018, ministry data shows. A total of 247,144ha were harvested, out of the 406,142ha available for the cultivation of natural rubber trees in the Kingdom.

Sopha said: “The area for natural rubber cultivation in 2020 has not changed much from 2019, but more than 310,000ha has been harvested this year.”

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