CAMBODIA'S rubber exports dropped 15.2 percent last year, caused by falling demand amid oversupply in China, an industry official said.
Ly Phalla, general director of the General Directorate of Rubber Plantation, also said that domestic plantation yields had been disappointing, ruling out the effects of the global economic downtown, a factor others have blamed for the drop in exports.
Cambodia exported 36,000 tonnes of latex rubber resin at an estimated value of US$43.2 million last year, Ly Phalla said, 15.2 percent down compared with 2007.
The main markets for Cambodian rubber are Malaysia, Vietnam and China.
There are 108,000 hectares of rubber trees in Cambodia - of this number, only 34,000 hectares can be tapped for resin, "the rest are too young to start producing", he said, confident that the rubber industry would bounce back next year by producing "at least 60,000 tonnes" in 2010.
Total rubber production is expected to grow to 150,000 hectares by 2015, he added, but sharply decreased prices also damaged the rubber export market.
Latex rubber resin for Standard Malaysia Rubber is down sharply to $1,480 a tonne from a high of $3,200 a tonne last April.
Opposition lawmaker Yim Sovann disputed the claim that the global downturn had not been a factor, arguing that the industry would only recover once the global economy does so.